At least least four police officers killed as clashes between Somali troops and al-Shabab fighters erupt in Afgoye.
Intense battles between Somali troops and al-Shabab fighters have broken out in Afgoye, a city about 30km northwest of the capital Mogadishu, according to security sources and witnesses.
Local authorities told Reuters news agency that at least four police officers were killed on Tuesday when a suicide attacker rammed a bomb-laden car into a police station, and then fighters stormed the area.
“Fierce fighting is taking place in several bases in Afgoye, one of which came under attack from a booby-trapped car,” Abdulakir Ahmed, a local security official, told AFP news agency.
Al-Shabab, which has been carrying out a series of deadly bombings throughout Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
In a statement, the armed group said it had recaptured the town, which it evacuated in May 2012 after coming under attack from the Somali army and African Union peacekeepers.
There was no independent confirmation of the reported capture of Afgoye.
Resident Amin Moalim said the town had been taken by surprise and “people are hiding in their houses and those who stayed outside have fled”.
“I saw wounded civilians and Somali soldiers as well,” he told AFP. “We don’t know who is controlling the city so far because heavy exchange of gunfire is going on.”
Al-Shabab has carried out numerous attacks in Somalia to try to topple the western-backed government.
Source: News Agencies