Fierce fighting in Somalia; 14 rebels dead, government claims
At least 14 al-Shabaab militants were killed in clashes, while others were captured when insurgents ambushed joint Somali and Ethiopian forces in Gedo region on Saturday, Somali commander Diyad Abdi Kalil said.
Kalil said that government soldiers were also killed in the attacks, but did not provide an exact death toll.
“We are in our final military preparations to clean the militants from (Gedo),” he said.
But Al-Shabaab’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, said Sunday that the group’s fighters in Gedo region destroyed three tanks and killed a number of soldiers.
“Our mujahideen fighters are still in every corner of regions such as Gedo, lower Juba or Shabelle regions, where they are struggling to defeat the infidel invaders.”
Al-Shabaab has been waging an insurgency against the government since 2007. But, in the past year, it has been on the back foot, ceding ground to government troops and AU forces.
Rage vowed that al-Shabaab fighters will increase their attacks and “will continue until our last one dies in this holy war.”
Separately, reports said that at least four al-Shabaab fighters were killed in clashes from Saturday to Sunday between forces of the semi-autonomous Puntland and militants.
One Puntland soldier was also killed in the clashes, according to Puntland officials.