At least 26 people were killed during armed clashes on Sunday between pro-government militias and Islamist insurgents near the Somali-Kenya border, Radio Garowe reports.
Local sources reported most of the 26 deaths were fighters, with over 50 persons wounded during the day-long clashes in El Wak district of Gedo region, in southwestern Somalia bordering Kenya.
Residents said pro-government militias who controlled El Wak town were attacked by Al Shabaab insurgents early Sunday morning.
Mohamed Abdi Kalil, the government-appointed governor of Gedo region, told reporters that insurgents attacked the town but claimed that Somali (TFG) government forces control El Wak town.
Al Shabaab military spokesman Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab held a press conference in Mogadishu later Sunday, where he claimed the insurgents killed “70 Somali soldiers” during the fighting.
El Wak residents fled the fighting and crossed over into Kenya, where Mandhera Hospital in Kenya was treating soldiers wounded in the fighting.
Local sources have confirmed that pro-government militias, who were trained in Kenya, had withdrawn from El Wak town and that town is under the control of Al Shabaab insurgents.
Since 2007, Al Shabaab insurgents have controlled many parts of southern Somalia as government forces struggle to maintain control of areas.