10 killed in militants, soldiers clash in southern Somalia, says Mayor
Madobe told DPA via telephone that soldiers fought back heavily armed militants who attacked the strategic port city of Barawe early Thursday from different directions.
“They used both speedboats and ground fighters, attacking the city, but our troops inflicted heavy losses on them,” said Madobe.
According to the mayor among the 10 dead were eight al-Shabaab fighters and two soldiers.Al-Shabaab meanwhile claimed on pro-insurgent radio station Andalus it killed numerous soldiers, set two military vehicles ablaze and looted ammunition.
The group, which is seeking an Islamist state in Somalia and is affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network, launches regular attacks within the volatile East African nation.
NAN recalls that Al-Shabab once controlled much of southern and central Somalia and imposed a harsh form of Islamic law that banned music and led to public amputations for accused thieves.
Government and African Union troops have recaptured most of the territory, but the militants were still able to kill several members of parliament last year, and launch two major assaults on the presidential palace.
The Somali government first offered amnesty to al-Shabab fighters last September, after al-Shabab’s top leader Ahmed Godane was killed in a U.S. airstrike.
Since Godane’s death, al-Shabab’s leaders have been divided, but it has remained a strong fighting force and challenge to the Somali government.
In words directed at the militants , then president Hassan Mohamud said he knows many al-Shabab members joined for “reasons that made sense at the time,” including the need for money, or a sense they were proving themselves to be good Muslims or good Somalis.
But, he added, “What you did does not have to dictate the rest of your life.”
Mohamud acknowledged some Somalis are uneasy about amnesty for al-Shabab members. He said those who defect go through a process of “supervised rehabilitation” and are monitored by Somali security forces to ensure they continue to reject the militant group.
He asked Somalis to “accept the need for concession and to exercise forgiveness” in order to close a dark chapter in Somalia’s history.
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