Qansah-Deere — At least 18 people have died in heavy artillery clashes between Islamist rebels and Somali forces in Qansah-dhere district of Bay region, Witnesses and Officials said on Saturday.
Reports suggested the two sides pounded each other after the forces allied to the Somalia's Transitional Federal government in the town came under heavy ambush attacks launched from several directions by Al shabab militants.
"Today Al shabab agents attacked our positions in Qansah-Dhere town, firing rockets and propelled grenades across the city. Somali forces confronted them and warded the attack off the area, killing at least 17 militants who are now lying on the ground," said the governor of Bay region for Somalia government, adding the one soldiers on his side was killed during the battle.
Local residents confirmed to Shabelle Media that fighting had taken place on Saturday, but did not give a death toll.
No Al shabab official was unavailable to reach for comments on the attack.
The situation of the city has returned into normal and the Somali forces are in control after the militants moved back during the combat, according to the residents.