MOGADISHU - Islamist rebels have pulled out of Somalia's southern town of Hudur under pressure from Ethiopian and Somali government troops.
Hudur is the third major town to be captured by Ethiopian forces who entered Somalia in November to bolster the fight against the al Shabaab rebels being waged by Kenyan forces in the south and African Union soldiers in the capital.
"We left Hudur as a military tactic," said a statement on the al Shabaab-run somaliamemo.net website, echoing the reason it gave for withdrawing in August from Mogadishu, where it has since stepped up a campaign of suicide bombings.
"However, the Ethiopians will not benefit from seizing Hudur. They will face explosions and a ceaseless hit-and-run war just like in Baladwayne and Baidoa," the group said, referring to the two other towns under Ethiopian control.