Somalia: Heavy fighting near Kismayo kills 15
KISMAYO, Somalia - At least 15 people were killed in fighting Thursday between Jubbaland forces and Islamist insurgents near Somalia's southern strategic port city of Kismayo, Garowe Online reports.
A security official, speaking to GO on condition of anonymity said the gunfight flared up at Bar-sanguni, a small town located about 50Km north of the seaside city when the regional troops raided Al Shabaab bases.
Nine militants, including senior commanders and six Jubbaland state soldiers, were killed in the confrontation, he said. The Kenyan defense force (KDF) serving with the AU Mission (AMISOM) involved in the combat.
The fighting, the heaviest of its kind in months, started on Thursday afternoon and raged on for hours in the area as the troops encountered a stiff resistance from armed insurgents with the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab.
In a statement posted on its affiliated websites, the militant group said they have killed more than 10 Jubbaland soldiers, a claim that Garowe Online could not independently verify.
The fighting comes a day after Jubbaland president, Ahmed Madoobe visited troops readied for an offensive against Al Shabaab in Bula-Gaduud area, 30Km north of Kismayo, along with some ministers and army officials.
Jubbaland administration troops backed by Kenyan military of AMISOM contingent have been fighting against Al Shabaab for years but were unable to wrest control of the entire Jubba and Gedo regions from the extremists.