Somalia army kills militants trying to collect taxes from the locals


MOGADISHU, Somalia - The Somali national army [SNA] forces on Tuesday killed 11 al-Shabab extremists in an operation in the southern region of Gedo, a military official said.

Ali Mohamed Hassan, commander of the Unit 49 division 10 of Somali National Army said that the forces launched an attack on the militants in the outskirts of Bardhere town following a tip-off from the residents that the militants were forcefully collecting taxes from the locals.

"There was a fierce gunfight between our army and the militants, but our forces finally drove the militants out of the town. We killed 11 of them during the gunfight," the commander said.

He noted that the security forces recovered 300 animals which the militants forcefully took from the residents. The commander also said their forces captured al-Shabab fighters during the battle.

Locals reported heavy fighting in the town between the army and the militant group which has been fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government.

"Al-Shabab ordered the residents to collect a large number of animals and suddenly they were attacked by the government army. Both sides exchanged heavy artillery for a while, but the situation returned to normal after the militants were chased from the town," Asmo Bashir, a resident told Xinhua through the phone.

On Oct. 7, the Somali army backed by Jubaland state forces killed 24 al-Shabab militants and injured more than 19 others in an operation in the country's southern region of Lower Jubba.

Southern regions of Somalia have become the battleground of clashes between Somalia army and al-Shabab extremists after the militants were chased out from the capital in August 2011 by Amisom forces and the Somali army.

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