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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Somalia army unit retake border town from al-Shabaab militants

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia’s government troops on Saturday retook the southern El-Wak town, situated along the border with Kenya, from Al-Shabaab militants that briefly controlled it.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said the Somali forces pushed back the militants who seized the town on Friday after an attack on the Somali army base there.

AMISOM troops are helping the Somali government battle Al-Shabaab militants.

AMISOM force spokesperson, Joe Kibet, confirmed to Xinhua that the Somali National Army (SNA) recaptured El-Wak early Saturday.

Kibet said the militants seized several weapons, including machine guns, but suffered heavy casualties in the Friday attack.

At least four Somali soldiers were killed and another injured in the attack, an army spokesperson in Gedo region, where the town is located, earlier said.

Al-Shabaab said it captured the town and claimed to have killed senior government officials and recovered vehicles and weapons.

The Islamist group carries out frequent attacks in Somalia in its bid to topple the government.

Sources said the militants hoisted their black flag at El-Wak’s administrative headquarters and spoke to residents after they took the town.
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EARLIER REPORT:

Four Somali soldiers killed as 'al-Shabaab' captures town

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least four Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers were killed and another was injured in heavy fighting in which Al-Shabaab militant group captured El-Wak town in Gedo region in southern Somalia, officials said Saturday.

SNA spokesman in Gedo region, Col. Warfa Sheikh Aden said the militants suffered heavy casualties during the fighting, which lasted several hours in the town near the Kenyan border.

"Al-Shabaab militants attacked our base on Friday. They were destroyed and defeated two times but they captured the town in their third attempt, (and) there are casualties on both sides. I don’t know on their side, but we lost four soldiers and another one was injured from SNA," Warfa said.

However, reports said more than 10 Somali soldiers, including senior commanders were killed during Friday’s attack on El-Wak. Al-Shabaab fighters were seen armed with heavy machine guns.

The SNA spokesman said terrorists ambushed the soldiers and used AMISOM vehicles in which they took during the El-Adde attack in the region early this year.

Sources said the insurgents who have been fighting the Somali government hoisted their black flag on the town’s administrative headquarters and spoke to residents as fighters took strategic positions ready to repulse attacks from the joint forces late on Friday.

The El-Wak town is at the Somali border with Kenya and it was among first towns liberated from Al-Shabaab by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), which is part of the Africa Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM).

There was no comment from AMISOM which is reportedly preparing for a major assault against the militants blamed for a series of terror attacks in the Horn of Africa nation.

           

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