Residents say official says Islamic extremist rebels recaptured a town in central Somalia after African Union and Somali troops pulled out Sunday.

Ahmed Sabriye, an elder in Halgan town said that heavily armed al-Shabab fighters retook the town soon after troops left.

He said the militants raised their black banner over the town which lies on a major highway between Beledweyne, the provincial capital of Hiran region, and Buloburte town.

Halgan is the second town in the region to be recaptured by al-Shabab after African Union troops have withdrawn.

In June, militants launched an attack on the African Union army base in the town. Dozens of soldiers and militants were killed in the attack.