MOGADISHU, Somalia-At least 76 militants were killed on Saturday when a fierce fighting broke out in southwestern Somalia between terrorist group al-Shabaab and the military, an official said.
The military also captured 10 others after the al-Shaabab launched a pre-dawn attack on Somali National Army bases in Bariire and Awdhegle in Lower Shabelle region, Brigadier Gen. Mohamed Tahaliil Mohamed Tahaliil, an military infantry commander, told Somali National Army Radio on Saturday evening.
He said al-Shabaab tried to attack the army bases but were inflicted heavily casualties and defeated.
The military official did not mention any casualties on the government sides, but government officials told Anadolu Agency over the phone that Abdirashid Mohamed Nur, an army captain, is among several military personnel killed in the attack.
“Reliable source; there is a very high number of casualties in Bariire on the government side. Casualties in Awdhiigle is yet unknown,” Abdirizak Mohamed, former federal government security minister, said on Twitter.
“Somali Army killed dozens of terrorist militants, including leaders, after al-Shabaab attacked SNA bases in Awdhigle and Bariire in Lower Shabelle region,” state media reported, quoting Somali military chief Odawaa Yusuf Rageh.
Deputy Defense Minister Abdifitah Qasim also confirmed the attacks and commended Somalia’s elite Gorgor forces for repelling the attacks.
The militants attacked military bases with vehicles full of explosives, military officials in the region told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group al-Shabaab also fired mortars on Sabiid and Anole and detonated car bombs in Lafoole.
Al-Shabaab claimed that it had killed over 47 government soldiers in the attack on the Bariire military base and seized several military vehicles.
Bariire, an agricultural town Somali forces liberated from al-Shabaab, is located 73 kilometers (45 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
Source: Anadolu Agency