But the victory didn’t last for long as Somali military, backed by the African Union (AU), recaptured the area from the horrific terror group a day later in a seemingly light counter-attack.
According to residents, the Somali military regained the possession of Merca from al-Shabaab militants who seized the port city on Friday.
There were allegedly civilian casualties, albeit the residents said the militants resisted lightly.
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However, AU dismissed claims it lost hold of Merca, saying it only withdrew smartly and tactically.
A Somali military official told AFP news agency:
The Somali forces and Amisom [AU] peacekeepers secured control of Merca again and now the situation has returned to normal.
There was brief exchange of gunfire, but the militants have fled.”
He also revealed
“several” al-Shabab fighters and one Somali soldier had been killed in the fighting.
A local told AFP that four civilians had died in his part of the city.
According to the locals, AMISOM and government personnel vacated the city at midday on Friday, and suddenly, heavily armed al-Shabaab militants marched in, waving their flag over the police station and administrative headquarters.
AMISOM later tweeted that it was still in control of Merka and suggested its troops were “re-adjusting their positions for tactical reasons”.
Somalis have taken to twitter to pour their anger over the military overstating their capabilities. They ask for proper explanation to the reason AMISOM vacated the city as well as to ridicule Friday’s tweet, using the hashtag #SomeoneTellAmisom.
This is happening weeks after an unknown but large number of AMISOM soldiers were massacred in Somalia in an indelible and horrific attack on a KDF camp in El Ade.