Heavy fighting has broken out between Somali army forces and Al Shabaab fighters in Barire town, some 40 miles west of Mogadishu, leaving seven people dead.
The combat started on Thursday when insurgents with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) attacked a military base in the town, according to military official Mohamed Hanad Hussein.
Hussein told The Messenger Africa that five militants had been killed, adding that five others, including a soldier, were also injured during the fighting in the town.
“A number of Al Shabaab militants attacked our base in the town. We repulsed the attack and killed five of them during heavy exchanges of gunfire,” he said.
Two civilians were also killed by stray bullets in their homes in the town, a local resident Mohamud Mohamed told The Messenger Africa.
Mohamed says that the sounds of the bullets could be heard earlier on Friday all over the surrounding areas in the town of Barire.
There was no response from Al Shabaab over the military claims.’
Last week, Al Shabaab fighters attacked a military base outside Mogadishu using car bombs and guns. They afterwards claimed to have killed 17 soldiers. The group’s fighters fled fixed positions in Mogadishu 2011 and have since lost most large towns to a 22,000-strong UN-backed African Union force, fighting alongside government soldiers.
The group’s fighters still hold sway in areas of the rural hinterland, from which they regularly launch attacks.
Reporting by Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare from Mogadishu, Somalia