Update: Forty-Five Killed in Fighting in Somalia



Fighting in southern Somalia between al-Shabab militants and government forces killed at least 45 people on Saturday.

Officials say dozens of people also were wounded when heavily armed al-Shabab militants launched surprise attacks on government troops before dawn in the Awdigle district and Mubarak village in the Lower Shabelle region, south of the capital, Mogadishu.

Speaking to VOA Somali Service, Awdigle District Commissioner Mohamed Aweys Abukar said 19 government soldiers and 26 al-Shabab fighters were killed in the battle.

The fighting comes a week after al-Shabab briefly seized the areas following a heavy attack. Al-Shabab has been trying since 2006 to overthrow the Somali government and establish a strict Islamic state.

In another development Saturday, gunmen killed a legislator and his driver who had just left the parliament building in Mogadishu.

Government officials say the attackers were disguised as paramedics and were traveling in the ambulance when they opened fired on Yusuf Dirir. Another lawmaker, Abdalla Boos, was wounded in the attack.

Somalia’s deputy prime minister, Mohamed Omar Arte, said an investigation is under way.

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