The central town of El Bur was one of the main bases still controlled by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab fighters. Residents are saying that al-Shabab fighters had evacuated prior to the pro-government forces arrival.
Residents of El Bur say they saw Ethiopian armored personnel carriers patrolling the streets of El Bur, which was taken without a fight. Ethiopian forces were accompanied by fighters from moderate Islamist militia Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa. The Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa militia is allied to the UN-backed government. The UN-backed government only controls the capital, Mogadishu.
Despite continuous pressure on al-Shabab they continue to mount attacks, especially in Mogadishu. This was the third attack this month against the heavily guarded compound in Mogadishu. al-Shabab still controls many southern areas but is also under pressure from Kenyan and African Union forces.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991 and has been continuously racked by conflict.