Beledhawo — Somali government forces backed by Ahlu Sunnah militia battled fiercely with Al Shabaab fighters in the city of Beledhawo in Gedo region on Saturday, Garowe Online reports.
The Somali government forces stated that the Al Shabaab fighters ambushed an outpost controlled by Ahlu Sunnah and Somali government forces in Beledhawo located near the Kenya and Ethiopian border.
According to local sources, the fighting began around 3pm and was very heavy.
Pro Al Shabaab media stated that the insurgents captured the city in the Gedo region.
However Somali government forces denied the reports and stated that they repelled the insurgents.
Governor of Gedo region Diyaad Abdi Khalil who spoke to Somali media said that the bodies of the Al Shabaab agents were scattered around the city.
"They had ambushed our forces and our forces fought back bravely repelling their ambush which resulted badly for their terror organization," said Governor Khalil.
The governor did not mention the government casualties.
According to sources on the ground in Beledhawo, the Al Shabaab forces controlled the city briefly and began robbing and pillaging businesses while in control.
Al Shabaab's strength in southern Somalia has waned drastically. The terror organization that controlled much of southern Somalia one-year earlier has been forced to conduct ambush attacks to sustain the insurgency.