News / Africa

AU Troops Recover Stolen Relief Food

A boy waits for food during a food distribution from an international Non-government Organization (NGO) in Mogadishu June 30, 2012A boy waits for food during a food distribution from an international Non-government Organization (NGO) in Mogadishu June 30, 2012
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A boy waits for food during a food distribution from an international Non-government Organization (NGO) in Mogadishu June 30, 2012
A boy waits for food during a food distribution from an international Non-government Organization (NGO) in Mogadishu June 30, 2012
VOA News
African Union troops in central Somalia have recovered more than 500 bags of food aid that were stolen by the insurgent group al-Shabab.

The AU says the food, which was meant for drought-stricken Somali families, was instead being used to feed al-Shabab militants at a training camp outside Mogadishu.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) says it captured the area, the village of Lanta-Buro, from al-Shabab this week.  AMISOM spokesperson Eloi Yao tells VOA it represents a major setback for the Islamist militant group.

"Some of those places that are strategic to al-Shabab are being captured," Yao said. "And Lanta-Buro is a major achievement because it was serving as a training ground to the enemy.... It's a major blow."

AMISOM says it also recovered a cache of machine guns and bomb-making equipment during the raid, which left 11 al-Shabab fighters dead and four others captured.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's transitional government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.  

The group once controlled much of Somalia and nearly all of Mogadishu. But it has lost most of its territory during an 19-month offensive involving African Union forces, the Somali government, Ethiopia and Kenya.

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