A Somali military official says allied African Union and Somali troops have retaken the town Marka one day after Islamic extremist fighters took control of the center following the withdrawal of African Union forces.

Col. Nur Hassan said Saturday that the troops entered the town after a brief battle with militants who fled to the outskirts.

Marka lies about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

Al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab has recently been attacking military positions of African Union troops bolstering Somalia's weak government against the militants' insurgency. Last month the extremist group claimed it killed at least 100 Kenyan soldiers in an attack on the African Union peacekeepers. Al-Shabab has carried out attacks on most African countries contributing to the African Union peace keeping force.