Somalia National Army (SNA) and local police in central Somalia have killed 46 Al Shabaab fighters, including five jihadists foreigners, Galmudug State Information Minister Ahmed Shire Falagle said.
According to reports from Dusamareb town, the capital of Galmudug, a fierce battle occurred in the early hours of Friday at Bahdo town, east of Dusamareb in the Galgadud region, following an attack by Al Shabaab militia, which started with blasts.
The explosions were followed by an exchange of fire between the assailants and SNA and local forces supported by armed civilians locally known as macawisleey (volunteers that face Al Shabaab) that lasted more than two hours.
“Our courageous forces, together with the volunteers, killed 46 extremist fighters,” said Mr Falagle, stating that they lost two children and a cleric from the town. Four car bombs were defused after the insurgents had fled, he added.
“Armed residents and clerics shot dead fighters from every window of every house and from every alley,” he told Reuters.
Galmudug State President Ahmed Abdi “QoorQoor” said the repulsion of the militants at Bahdo town had a historical significance.
“What took place in Bahdo town is a good example that Al Shabaab can be confronted by local forces and inhabitants, which should be emulated by Galmudug people and Somalis in other regions,” President Abdi told the media. He put the number of jihadists that were killed at 70, many of whom he said were foreigners.
Al Shabaab admitted its fighters were killed but put the number at nine while claiming they had killed 27 Galmudug forces.
The bodies of the jihadists in military uniforms and face covers were displayed in the middle of the town as seen through video clips circulated on social media and picked by the traditional media.
Locals said the dead bodies had been scattered across the town but later collected and taken to the town centre.
Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud praised the Galmudug residents and security forces. “I commend the people of Bahdo town and the Somali and regional forces for their sacrifice and courage to tackle the assault by the terrorists,” said President Mohamud.
“The enormous damages inflicted on the terrorists shows the determination of the Somali people to free themselves from the domination of the terrorists.”
- Additional reporting from Reuters