Somalia, AU forces enter Bardera town after heavy fighting
BARDERA, Somalia, July 22, 2015 (Garowe Online)-Somali government forces aided by African Union peacekeepers have entered strategic Bardera town in southern Somalia after heavy fighting that lasted for two days, Garowe Online reports.
Somali National Army (SNA) commander, Siyad Ahmed Adan told government-owned station, Radio Mogadishu that they are crossing a key bridge over Jubba River and cruised through Al Shabaab battle trenches.
“We in full control of large parts in the town, especially we stationed our troops on Al Shabaab command posts and we expect our friends on the other side to make final thrust into the remaining part,” said Adan in blow to Al Qaeda affiliated Al Shabaab group.
On Tuesday, fierce clashes flared up in Jungal, 25km from Bardera, leading to undisclosed number of casualties.
Areas where the deadly clashes occurred have reportedly come under heavy bombardment by fighter jets.
Bardera which is 284km off Mogadishu has been under the control of militants for seven years.
Jubba corridor operation brought together Jubaland, Southwest state, Somali federal government and African Union forces-something analysts described sternest offensive since the start of anti-Al Shabaab operations in central and southern Somalia.
The fall of Bardera coincides with a gathering by senior Al Shabaab officials and ideologues in Middle Jubba region town, Jilib.
Sources close to the meeting tell Garowe Online that terror officials are weighing options over merger with the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).