Government troops kill 12 al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia

Garbaharey, Gedo

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Somalia’s military says it killed 12 al-Shabab militants during a battle for the town of Garbaherey, in the country’s southern Gedo region.

At least one solider was injured in the clash, Xinhua news agency quoted Abdullahi Osman, Somali government forces commander in Gedo region, as saying. The remaining militants retreated, Osman said, and government forces are now in complete control of Garbaherey.

Frightened villagers told Xinhua the battle lasted hours but that the “situation was calm” again.

An affiliate of al-Qaida, al-Shabab is an Islamic terrorist group operating out of Somalia. It took over most of the country’s south in 2006 before being militarily defeated by Somali and Ethiopian forces the following year. In 2008, the United States branded the group a foreign terrorist organization.

Attacks by the group have since been reported in Somalia and neighboring Kenya, where a 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi killed at least 67 people. Masked al-Shabab gunmen killed nearly 150 people at Garissa University College earlier this year.

On July 26, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack that killed 10 people and injured at least 20 at a hotel frequented by politicians and foreign diplomats in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. The militants said the bombing was retaliation for attacks by the African Union and Somali government.

AU forces in Somalia on July 14 said they killed 25 al-Shabab fighters during a five-hour militant assault on the Rage Celle district, in the country’s south.

Tuesday’s battle comes a week after Kenyan police publicly released the names of three men — Abdifatah Abubakar Ahmed, Ramadhan Hamisi Kufungwa, and Ahmed Iman Ali — believed to be recruiters for Islamic terrorist groups, including al-Shabab.

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