19 January 2013

Somalia: Seven Killed As Al Shabaab Attack Afmadow Town

Kismayo — Heavy fighting erupted in Afmadow town of southern Somalia between Somali government forces aided by Kenyan-AMISOM troops and Al Shabaab militants, Garowe Online reports.

Local reports say that Al Shabaab militants attacked the town from different directions.

"We heard the sound of heavy gunfire in the outskirts of [Afmadow] town. After the fighting, there were 7 reported casualties including civilians," said a Afmadow resident speaking to Somali media via telephone.

Casu alty figures could not be independently verified.

Somali military officials confirmed the fighting, but noted that they "repulsed" the Al Shabaab attack on Afmadow.

Al Shabaab spokesman claimed that the militants killed a number of Somali and Kenyan soldiers. Kenyan troops serving under the auspices of the U.N.-approved AMISOM peacekeeping force are deployed in parts of Lower Shabelle region bordering Kenya, including the strategic port town of Kismayo.

Af madow residents said it was the "heaviest fighting" in Afmadow since Al Shabaab militants were removed fr om the town in 20 12. Al S habaab militants still control many districts across Somalia , while governm ent forces have seized provincial capitals.

Al Shabaab militants controlled Kismayo and most districts in Jubaland regions between 2008 and until September 2012, when Somali government forces aided by Kenyan-AMISOM troops seized Kismayo and neighboring towns.

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