World Bulletin / News Desk
Violence broke out in el-Wak city in the southwestern Somali region of Gedo, close to the Kenyan border.
Idris Hasan, an eyewitness said: “The fighting began after al-Shabaab raided the SNA military base in town. We heard explosions and heavy gunfire followed by heavy fighting.”
Mohamed Hussien Alqadi, deputy chief of the Gedo region, said that two SNA officers -- identified as Adan Koronto and Salah Diin -- were killed in the fighting. The remaining fatalities were civilians.
The militants have reportedly taken hold of el-Wak but the current situation remains unclear.
On Jan. 15 this year al-Shabaab attacked African Union peacekeeping forces in el-Ade town, near el-Wak.
Al-Shabaab claimed after that raid they had killed over 65 Kenyan military personal operating under AMISOM.
Elsewhere, a senior al-Shabaab commander was killed Friday in a joint operation carried out by Somali forces and AU troops in southern Somalia, AMISOM said.
AMISOM forces struck a training camp in Awdhegle town in the Lower Shebelle region where they killed several fighters and seized weapons, according to AMISOM spokesman, Col. Joe Kibet, who spoke to Somali news agency SONNA.
“The chief commander of al-Shabaab for the town, Mohamed Hassan, was killed, others injured and some weapons recovered by our forces and the SNA today,” Kibet said.
The SNA, backed by AU troops, has stepped up operations against al-Shabaab ahead of Somalia’s upcoming elections scheduled to take place at end of this year.
Al-Shabaab has also been behind deadly attacks in Kenya and Uganda, which both contribute troops to the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.