​Somalia: Al Shabaab briefly seizes town near Kenyan border

Somalia

EL WAK, Somalia - The Al Qaeda-linked militant Islamist group Al Shabaab seized briefly a town in Gedo region of southwestern Somalia, after a dawn attack on military forces' bases, Garowe Online reports.

A local resident, told GO over the phone that the city fell to Al shabaab hands, and government forces fled towards Kenyan border following a fierce gunfight began at mid-night and raged on until morning.

Hundreds of gun-toting fighters in pick-up trucks and battle wagons have launched the assault under cover of darkness, and clashed engaged in a deadly battle with Somali Federal government troops.

During the clash, a huge blast said to be grenade bomb was targeted the Police station. Somali military forces had pulled out of the town after they were overpowered by the militants, according to the locals.

Reports indicated that Al shabaab fighters stormed a local NGO offices in the town, and stole food aid and key other equipment, including computers and an ambulance vehicle before withdrawing.

The town is now calm and Somali soldiers are back in control. El Wak which lies near Kenya border has been prone to Al shabaab attacks in the past months due to lack of strong presence of army in the area.

Last week, Al shabaab has carried out a car bomb and gun attack on Balad Hawo district in the same region, and Madera in northeastern Kenya, killing Jubbaland soldiers, while wounding several others.

GAROWEONLINE