MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Islamist fighters have withdrawn from
almost all their bases in Somalia's capital, and the U.N.-backed
government says that should allow aid agencies better access to
refugees who have fled to the city to escape famine.
The al-Shabab militants have denied many aid agencies access to
their territory, and thousands of people have filled camps in
Mogadishu looking for food. But al-Shabab had controlled about a
third of the city, complicating relief efforts.
Today, Somalia's defense minister and military commanders toured
the newly abandoned positions and declared that humanitarian
agencies are now welcome to distribute aid. The defense minister
cautions that, while the development is significant, "the war is
not over yet."
Al-Shabab still holds most of southern Somalia, where tens of
thousands of people are estimated to have starved.
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