Somalia: Fierce battle erupts in Baladweyne

Baladweyne ( — Heavy gun battle broke out between Somali government troops supported by Ethiopian forces and Al Shabaab militants in Baladweyne, the capital of Hiiraan region, officials said on Monday.

The fighting erupted after heavily armed militants belonging to Al Qaeda linked Al Shabaab launched an ambush attack on bases manned by Somali and Ethiopian troops near Baladweyne Airport, causing unconfirmed casualties.

Somali officials in town confirm in phone that the battle caused some casualties on both warring sides during the night time combat.

“They [Al Shabaab militants] launched propelled armed grenades and machine guns in a planned ambush against allied forces at the outskirts of Baladweyne airport, sparking face to face clashes that raged for several hours” said the official.

The government official added that the Somali and Ethiopian forces are now in control of the town after the Shabab fighters were forced to withdraw.

Al Shabaab fighters frequently carry out coordinated killings and roadside bombings against allied forces in Baladweyne town and other parts of Hiran region controlled by Allied forces