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Advance contingent of AMISOM troops deployed in Baidoa 07

A Burundian soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mans a position along a defensive line 15 May 2012, in the area surrounding Baidoa airstrip in central Somalia. An advance joint-contingent of 120 Ugandan and Burundian AMISOM troops are on the ground in Baidoa, 240km west of Mogadishu and are the first forces the AU mission has deployed outside the Somali capital since its initial deployment in 2007. Ethiopian forces took control of Baidoa from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group Al Shabaab in February of this year, one of string of strategic losses Shabaab has suffered with the group losing ground on three separate fronts to allied Kenyan and Somali National Army (SNA) forces in the south of the country; being driven from the Somali capital by SNA and AMISOM forces and conceding territory to the Ethiopians and pro-government militia in the west. AMISOM will soon deploy several thousand troops to Baidoa and the surrounding area, replacing the Ethiopian forces currently on the ground and expanding its operations throughout the country. AU-UN IST PHOTO / STUART PRICE.

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Taken on May 15, 2012