Somalia forces have seized some territory in the Bakol region from Al-Shabaab, say government officials.
The areas were taken over after pro-government forces moved towards Hudur town, a regional capital, 420 kilometres south-west of Mogadishu.
Ibrahim Omar Dhere, the Transitional Federal Government’s district commissioner in charge of Eel Barde, told the media that the pro-government forces made some advances over the last two days although they had not yet captured Hudur town.
“Our forces are very close to Hudur,” said Dhere, adding that their target was the regional capital.
“We are just 30 kilometres away from the town.”
The pro-government forces in Bay and Bakol regions are being assisted by troops from Ethiopia.
Reports from Hudur show that tension is mounting and many residents are planning to flee the area.
Last week, pro-government forces, with the help of Ethiopian troops, seized Baidoa town, 240 kilometres south-west of Mogadishu.
Two months ago, Ethiopian forces assisted Somalia government loyalists in Hiran region, Central Somalia, to capture Beledweyne, 335 kilometres north of Mogadishu.
With the fall of Beledweyne and Baidoa, Hudur is the only regional capital in the Somalia territories near the Ethiopian border that remains in the hands of Al-Shabaab.
Pro-government forces in Jubaland appear heading towards Kismayu, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu. They are being assisted by Kenya troops.