Somalia's government troops battle Al Shabaab fighters near port town
MARKA, Somalia- A heavy fighting between Somali forces and Al Shabaab militants has erupted onThursday near the port town of Marka, located 110 km south-west of the capital Mogadishu, Garowe Online reports.
Cap. Abdullahi Ali, a senior military officer, told GO over the phone that Somali National Army (SNA) backed by AMISOM troops have advanced to Bufow and Kabtanlas areas, to dislodge Al Shabaab fighters.
"Thursday's clashes began after SNA and AMISOM troops have launched a joint offensive against militants-held villages near Marka town. We don't have the exact number of casualties so far," said Ali.
Residents also told GO that heavy exchange of gunfire is ongoing as allied troops had recaptured parts of the areas, with hundreds of soldiers in battle-wagons are advancing from different directions.
African Union forces were reported to have bombed rebel-held area with mortars to open the transit routes to major Al Shabaab strongholds in Lower Shabelle region, according to the sources.
AMISOM officials did not comment on the battle, which is the latest in series of clashes between Al Shabaab and allied forces in southern Somalia.