Heavy fighting erupts between Somali army, Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia

Heavy fighting between Somali troops and Al-Shabab militants reported in Bakool region, southwestern Somalia on Saturday morning , residents said.

The battle erupted after Alshabab fighters mounted an attack on a military base manned by Somali forces in Abal village, about 20 km East of Xudur town.

The attack was followed by heavy fighting between the two warring sides reportedly resulting in casualties and injuries.

According to a local resident, Al-Shabab militants attacked the military base leading to a gunfight.

“We could hear the sound of heavy weapons exchanged by the two sides and the residents panicked but the gunfire has stopped,” said the local resident.

“There are casualties from al Shabaab and government forces, but we have no exact figure,” he added.

Tension in the area is reportedly high, neither the government nor Alshabab commented on the fight.

Recently, Somali forces backed by African Union Mission in Somalia have stepped up operations on al-Qaida linked group in some central and southern regions in the Horn of Africa nation.

The southern parts of Somalia have been the epicenter of clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants who were forced out of the capital Mogadishu in August 2011 by the Somali army and African Union Forces.

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