Somalia: US-backed Somali forces seize key town from Al Shabaab

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BARIRE, Somalia - Somali Federal government forces and AMISOM soldiers backed by foreigners said to be of U.S. troops have wrested full control of a strategic town in southern Somalia from Al shabaab on Saturday, Garowe Online reports.

Ahmed Ibrahim, an officer in the Somali National Army (SNA), told GO over the phone that the allied forces captured the Bariire district, about 60 Km northwest of Mogadishu during a dawn offensive against the extremists. 

Ibrahim said that helicopters dropped U.S. soldiers near the village and stormed Al shabaab, where they engaged in a fierce gunfight with the militants, in support of ground Somali and African Union forces in the joint operation to retake Bariire.

The Al Qaida-affiliated militants were reported to have retreated and abandoned the town, before it was recaptured by the coalition troops following air and land attack, a resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told GO.

There were no verification of the casualties among US forces or their Somali and AMISOM allies, as a result of the firefight, but local residents said the coalition troops have set up defensive positions to prevent Al shabaab from launching a counter-attack.

In a separate incident, at least seven civilians were killed by land mine explosion on their bus, while fleeing from the fighting in Bariire.

In early May, 2017, a U.S. Navy SEAL member, Kyle Milliken, 38, was killed, two others were wounded, while fighting the Al-Shabaab militants in Bariire district in lower Shabelle region.

Milliken was the first American service member to be killed in combat in Somalia since 1993 - during the Operation Restore hope Mission in Mogadishu, which left 18 U.S. soldiers dead.

GAROWEONLINE

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