At least 19 people including Al-Shabaab militants were killed and several others injured as a fierce fighting broke out in Somalia’s South West State, government officials said Thursday.
Mohammed Hasan Fiqi, acting president for the state, said that the fighting which continued all through Wednesday in the Bakool region, killed 13 Al-Shabaab and six Abu Mansoor militants.
Abdirasak Abdi, the state deputy security minister confirmed that his administration is backing the Abu Mansoor group, a move it has taken to defeat the Al-Shabaab group, which aims to establish Sharia rule in the region.
Fighting began after Al-Shabaab militants stormed the Abal village, located 390 kilometers (242 miles) southwest to capital Mogadishu.
Abu Mansoor, a top leader of the Al-Shabaab group, deserted it in 2013.
After his formal announcement, the U.S. removed his name from the list of wanted terrorists, a move which the South West State administration welcomed.