At least five people including three soldiers were killed Monday in heavy fighting between the Somali army and heavily armed militia belonging to al-Shabaab, officials said, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.
Abdurrahman Ahmed, a Somali national army captain, told Anadolu Agency on the phone that the fighting began after al-Shabaab attacked an army base in Afgoye, the lower Shabelle region, a town 30 kilometers southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
“Al-Shabaab militants attacked an army base in Afgoye. Three soldiers were killed and two others were also wounded. We killed two al-Shabaab militants and wounded over 10 others. Our forces are controlling the entire town,” Abdurrahman said.
The fighting began at 5:00 pm local time (1400GMT) and ended by 7:00 pm, eyewitness Mukhtar Ali told Anadolu Agency.
“It was rush hour when the fighting began, we don’t know the real casualties caused by the fighting. We are still hearing sporadic gunfire,” he said.
Afgoye is a strategic agriculture town which has seen more attacks in recent years since the Somali government recaptured it from al-Shabaab in 2012.
Separately, three people including soldiers and al-Shabaab fighters were killed in fighting in the town of Eil-baraf, in the middle Shabelle region, Monday. Qadar Mohamed Abdi, Eil-baraf commissioner, confirmed the fighting and casualties to Anadolu Agency.