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Pro-Somalia troops take back last al-Shabab stronghold, secure Barawe for 1st time in 20 years

  • In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 and provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), African Union (AU) soldiers march along the top of a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Officials in Somalia say AU and Somali troops have seized Barawe, the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, with the AU claiming it as a significant victory because al-Shabab had used the port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business. (AP Photo/AMISOM, Tobin Jones)

    In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 and provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), African Union (AU) soldiers march along the top of a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Officials in Somalia say AU and Somali troops have seized Barawe, the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, with the AU claiming it as a significant victory because al-Shabab had used the port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business. (AP Photo/AMISOM, Tobin Jones)  (The Associated Press)

  • This photo taken Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 and provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), shows the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Officials in Somalia say AU and Somali troops have seized Barawe, the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, with the AU claiming it as a significant victory because al-Shabab had used the port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business. (AP Photo/AMISOM, Tobin Jones)

    This photo taken Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 and provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), shows the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Officials in Somalia say AU and Somali troops have seized Barawe, the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, with the AU claiming it as a significant victory because al-Shabab had used the port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business. (AP Photo/AMISOM, Tobin Jones)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 and provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), African Union (AU) soldiers look for enemy combatants through the scope of a rifle on a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Officials in Somalia say AU and Somali troops have seized Barawe, the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, with the AU claiming it as a significant victory because al-Shabab had used the port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business. (AP Photo/AMISOM, Tobin Jones)

    In this photo taken Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 and provided by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), African Union (AU) soldiers look for enemy combatants through the scope of a rifle on a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia. Officials in Somalia say AU and Somali troops have seized Barawe, the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, with the AU claiming it as a significant victory because al-Shabab had used the port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business. (AP Photo/AMISOM, Tobin Jones)  (The Associated Press)

Officials in Somalia say African Union and Somali troops seized the last major stronghold held by the Islamic militant group al-Shabab.

The African Union said Sunday the capture of Barawe, a coastal town 220 kilometers (135 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, was a significant victory because al-Shabab had used its port to bring in arms and fighters and export charcoal, a multi-million-dollar business.

Somali government forces have not controlled Barawe since the early 1990s.

The Islamic extremists of Al-Shabab have steadily lost territory to African Union and Somali forces since 2011, when they were ousted from Mogadishu, the capital city they once largely controlled.

Somali military Col. Abdi Hussein said by phone from Barawe that al-Shabab fighters fled Barawe by sea and land before pro-government forces entered town.