Based on AFP news agency report:
Somalia’s Al Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab fighters briefly took control of the small town of Bulohawo on the border with Kenya in a battle that left at least 12 people dead, military officials and witnesses said on Sunday.
Heavy fighting broke out late on Saturday afternoon in Bulohawo and lasted into the evening, residents and military commanders said, with residents confirming that the Al-Shabaab took full control of the town for a few hours before Somali troops were able to reinforce their positions.
“The violent elements attacked Bulohawo in late afternoon and after heavy fighting our forces defeated them and inflicted heavy losses on them,” Diyad Abdi Kalil, a Somali military commander in the area said.
AT LEAST A DOZEN DEAD
Casualty estimates varied but most sources agreed that at least a dozen people, most of them fighters for the two sides, had been killed.
“Al-Shabaab attacked the town from three directions and penetrated the barracks of the Somali troops after heavy fighting. They briefly took control of the town but were later forced back. Twelve people, most of them the fighters from the two sides, died,” said resident Sadik Mohamed.
Another resident, Hussein Mahat Abdulle, confirmed he had seen bodies in government uniform as well as bodies of what looked like Al-Shabaab fighters.
Kalil said his men had killed ‘nearly 20’ Al-Shabaab, but a spokesman for the terrorist group dismissed that claim and said his men had killed 15 Somali government troops.
“Today was a victorious day for the mujahedeen fighters who carried out several military operations,” said Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheik Abdiasis Abu Mus’ab.
“The Mujahedeen fighters penetrated their defences and took control of the city for many hours. Around 15 of the apostate militia were killed,” he said, referring to the Somali government troops fighting alongside regional armies to overcome the Al Shabab. Bulohawo, which lies just across the border from the town of Mandera in the extreme northeast of Kenya, has been calm so far Sunday.
MANDERA TOWN HIT BY GUNFIRE
Officials said two civilians in Mandera town had been hit by gunfire during the fighting.
Mandera County Commissioner Michael Ole Tialal told AFP that civilians and Somali troops had fled briefly across the border to escape the fighting.
“Many civilians and Somali soldiers crossed to border point one in Mandera,” he said by phone. “Once the fighting subsided and the attackers were repulsed many crossed back over.”
Around ten civilians injured in the fighting were also evacuated across the border to Mandera for medical treatment, according to residents on the Kenyan side.
The attack appeared to have come as a surprise, with the Al-Shabaab having been forced out of their major strongholds by troops from the African Union force AMISOM over the past months.