The Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers in an undated photo outside of Bal’ad town. FILE PHOTO
Mogadishu (HOL) – Al-Shabaab militants have reportedly pulled out of Bal’ad town, 30km north of Mogadishu, early Tuesday morning after a whirlwind hit and run attack by the militant extremist group. The attack led to a heavy firefight that lasted for several hours on Monday evening and into Tuesday morning.
The Somali military on Tuesday confirmed its soldiers managed to repulse the attack by Al-Shabaab.
Mohamed Osman Adan, a government military commander, said that his forces were in control of the town.
Adan confirmed that the heavy gun battle lasted for several hours and left several Al-Shabaab militants dead.
According to residents, Al-Shabaab militants attacked the town and engaged with government soldiers at various key positions in the city including the police station and intelligence offices.
It appears that the Al-Shabaab fighters withdrew from the battle before reinforcements from Mogadishu could arrive.
A local resident confirmed that government soldiers appear to have retaken the town as of Tuesday morning but believe there still may be some fighters hiding in the city.
The number of casualties on either side is still unknown.
AMISOM maintains a military base just outside of the town which provides logistical support to government troops.
The Al-Qaeda-linked militant group, Al-Shabaab is waging an insurgency war against the internationally-backed government of Somalia. The militant group carries out frequent attacks on government, civilian and military installations in their attempt to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government.