Somali forces retake Shabab-held town after militant attack

Somali forces retake Shabab-held town after militant attack
Seven Somali soldiers have been killed in an attack on a border town, forcing government forces to retreat before returning to take on the al-Qaeda linked militants.
2 min read
17 September, 2016
A spokesperson said that the soldiers hadn't been paid a salary in five years [AFP]

Somali forces retook a town close to the Kenyan border on Friday night, after it was briefly captured by al-Shabab militants.

The Somali army brigade retreated from the town of al-Waq to a near-by garrison briefly, after a surprise attack killed seven soldiers, before returning that same night to repel the invading militants.

"Bodies of the deceased soldiers can be seen laying around the town following the heavy gunfire exchange with al-Shabab fighters yesterday," one resident said, according to Garowe News.

Shortly after the original attack, al-Shabab militants seized army supplies and hoisted flags on top of buildings.

"We lost at least seven soldiers and two vehicles," said Major Mohamed Jimcale, a spokesperson for the Somali army.

Jimcale told Reuters that his forces had briefly retreated to a nearby garrison for the African Union's AMISOM force, near Baardheere.

"We captured five military vehicles and killed several members of the government forces," a spokesman for Shabab told Reuters.

The Somali forces regrouped at the AMISOM garrison and returned to repel the rebel forces in a night-time raid.

According to a Somali army spokesperson, none of the government troops in Gedo have received salaries since 2011, which may have been a vital reason why they had been originally defeated.

The town of al-Waq is on a main supply road for Kenyan troops in southwestern Somalia. Al-Shabab held the town until 2011 when the Kenyan army retook the town in an incursion.