Somalia

Civilians killed in south as government forces fire on Shebab rebels

Reuters

Some nine Somalis were killed and more than 30 injured after government troops attacked Shebab rebel group positions late Tuesday, witnesses and medics said Wednesday. Troops moved into the southern Tarbunka area and officials claimed several rebel deaths after the attack. One government soldier was killed.

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One civilian said he saw five people die, including a child, near Bakara. Three were hit by a mortar while the other two died during the exchange of gunfire.

The Shebab, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group, claimed they had taken more territory and denied any of their fighters had been killed.

"Our mujahideens [holy warriors] are now in the trenches there were occupied by the apostate militias and they have seized weapons caches and armed vehicles from the enemy," Shebab regional governnor Sheikh Ali Hussein told French wire service AFP.

Shebab has refrained from attacks in recent weeks as the group anticipates an African Union and government-backed offensive against them.

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