MOGADISHU – Somali Islamist group Al Shabaab fighters carried out an attack on army base near Baidoa town, some 250km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
The attack triggered heavy fighting between Al Shabaab and Somali army forces in Gofgudud Burey area about 30km northwest of Baidoa town.
Harun Macruf, a VOA journalist said that at least 20 people had been killed when Al Shabaab fighters briefly seized the base from the army forces.
He says 9 government soldiers and 11 militants were killed in during the fighting.
The 43rd unit of the 60th Division of Somali National Army is based in the area, according to series posts tweeted by Harun.
He says two Al-Shabaab commanders whose names identified as ‘Iftiin and Abu Sa’ad’ were among those killed in the latest fighting near the Baidoa town.
He added that Indho Gudud, a commander of government soldiers in Gofgudud had also been killed.
Neither Somali military officials nor Al Shabaab has commented on the attack near the town of Baidoa.
Harun says reinforcement forces were sent to the area to flush out of Al Shabaab from the base.
The Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab was pushed out of key towns in south and central Somalia by country’s army forces and African Union troops after joint military operations.
The group has been waging insurgency more than ten years in Somalia.