African Union forces and Somali government troops have captured the town of Jowhar from al-Shabab militants.
Witnesses said troops entered the town Sunday morning and briefly fought with militants before gaining control.
Several al-Shabab members have confirmed that their forces have pulled out of Jowhar.
The town is about 90 kilometers north of the capital, Mogadishu and is the regional capital of Middle Shabelle region. It has been under Islamist control since 2009.
The capture deals a blow to al-Shabab as the Somali government now controls large parts of the country's south, including the capital and the port city of Kismayo.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.