Baidoa, 155 miles northeast of the capital Mogadishu, had been one of the main bases of the al-Qaeda-linked militia since 2009 when it was captured in a humiliating blow to the Western-backed factions in the “world’s most failed state”.
However, as they arrived in London yesterday, Somali leaders confirmed that Ethiopian troops and Somali troops had retaken Baidoa, dealing a significant blow to the insurgents, who control large parts of southern and central Somalia.
“One of the most important cities in southwestern Somalia, Baidoa, has just been captured from Al-Shabaab,” Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, the prime minister said.
It came as the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to boost the peacekeeping force in Somalia/ Under the terms of the resolution adopted by the UN, the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia will increase in size from 12,000 to 17,700.
The resolution also introduces a ban on the sale of charcoal from Somalia, which the militant al-Shabaab group uses as a source of income, and the farming of which leads to deforestation and drought.
By Damien McElroy, and Rosa Prince