Jowhar is the most significant of several towns the fighters have captured in recent months, highlighting the inability of the Western-backed interim government to impose its authority despite support from Ethiopian and African Union troops.
The Islamists, who are remnants of a sharia courts group ousted from the capital at the end of 2006, briefly seized Jowhar on March 26. Early on Wednesday, they did it again.
"No fighting took place because the enemy troops had abandoned the town by midnight when they heard we were coming," the Islamists' spokesman Abdirahim Isa Adow said by telephone.
The fighters freed prisoners in Jowhar, which served as the government's temporary base in 2005, Adow said. It was not clear whether Islamist fighters were still in the town.
Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2008, 15:26