Updated 3/7/2011 3:02:31 AM ET
MOGADISHU, Somalia — An official says pro-government forces have taken control of a strategic town in western Somalia after Islamist militants abandoned it.
Sheik Mohamed Isaq, a commander of the militiamen allied with Somalia's weak transitional government, said his forces entered Luuq on Monday morning without a gunbattle.
Luuq is 85 kilometers (55 miles) east of Belet Hawo, a town that pro-government militiamen overran on Saturday. It is a gateway to any push to capture other towns in Gedo region and beyond.
Such battleground successes are considered a morale booster for the troops.
The pro-government offensive is part of a move aimed at ending Islamist militants' grip on large swaths of Somalia's southern and central regions.