Several killed in intensive fighting continues in central Somalia

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Intensive fighting continued in central Somalia on Wednesday, eyewitnesses said, with local militia taking weapons to fight Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants who are seeking to topple the current administration, despite concerted efforts to defeat the group.

At least 10 people were killed on Tuesday night after anti-Alshabaab militia opened fire against the Al-Qaida affiliated group around Celey area about 30 kilometers from Mahaas region in Hiiraan, witnesses said, in what could raise questions about the ability of the national army

The fighting, residents told local media, left each side counting heavy losses after the use of artillery. It's not immediately clear if innocent civilians were casualties but fighting in recent weeks has mostly left civilians counting massive losses.

The latest hostility comes just days after the militants targeted food trucks within Mahaas, killing at least 22 innocent civilians who were using the seven trucks as their safest mode of transport. The trucks were transporting food to hunger-stricken areas within HirShabelle, officials said.

After the tragic incident last week, local militia quickly organized themselves and targeted the militants, killing at least 13 of the terrorists. The Tuesday attack against the group takes the total number of the militants to have died within three days to over 23.

The Somali National Army [SNA] has been working closely with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] and the US Africa Command to reclaim several strategic towns within central Somalia. The US army acknowledged recently that the local army was doing "extremely well" in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

Last week, the US embassy in Somalia insisted that it will not allow Al-Shabaab to make advances in the Hiiraan region, "leave alone Somalia". The US deployed close to 500 soldiers to the country earlier this year, over 14 months after their repositioning following an order by former President Donald Trump.

GAROWE ONLINE

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