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Somali Government Forces Capture Town from Insurgents


Forces of Somalia's transitional government have captured a town from Islamist insurgents - the second town seized from insurgents this week.

Witnesses say government soldiers took over the town of Luuq, about 400 kilometers northwest of the capital Mogadishu, without any fighting on Wednesday.

Luuq was previously controlled by the Islamist militant group Hizbul Islam, whose fighters departed as the soldiers moved in.

Residents say shops and businesses in Luuq stayed closed on fears of possible clashes.

On Monday, a pro-government militia, Ahlu Sunna Waljama, seized the southern town of Bulahawa from Somalia's most prominent Islamist militant group, al-Shabab.

Al-Shabab and its allies are fighting to install an Islamic state in Somalia.

Somalia's parliament Wednesday voted to declare a state of emergency. The moves gives President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed the power to make major decisions without consulting lawmakers.

Al-Shabab and its allies control large portions of the country, including much of Mogadishu.

The United States has expressed concern Somalia could become a haven for terrorists if al-Shabab takes over the Horn of Africa country.

Somalia has endured nearly two decades of unrest and instability since the fall of the last stable government in 1991.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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