Heavy fighting between Somali government forces and al-Shabab fighters erupted on Thursday morning in Somalia’s middle shabelle region, causing unknown casualties from both sides, officials have confirmed.
The fighting took place in Bal’ad town, about 30 km north of the capital Mogadishu after Alshabab militants stormed a security checkpoint in the town prompting heavy clash between the two sides.
Local residents said they were terrified by the heavy weapons exchanged by the two warring sides.
“Al-Shabab fighters launched an attack on a security checkpoint used by government forces in the town, there was heavy fighting that lasted for a while.” said a local resident who declined to be named.
At least two civilians were wounded by stray crossfire during the morning attack on the Somali forces with one of them in serious condition. Added the local resident.
The injured civilians were transported to Mogadishu for medical treatment.
Neither the Somali government forces nor al shabaab commented on the deadly clash.
Reports from the town of Bal’ad in Middle Shabelle region indicate that the situation is calm and government forces are conducting operations.
The assault comes barely a week after seven health workers and a civilian were killed in Gololey village, outskirts of Bal’ad town after they were abducted by unknown armed and masked men in military uniforms.
The horrifying incident outraged local residents sparking protests in the town.
The Somali government, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in separate statements condemned the attack.