MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somali army bolstered by the forces of Galmudug state took control of the town of Guriel in central Somalia after heavy fighting with Ahlu Sunnah fighters, a regional minister said on Saturday.
Galmudug Information Minister Ahmed Shire Falagle told media that the fighting erupted on Saturday morning after Ahlu Sunnah fighters attacked positions of the army and regional forces on the outskirts of Guriel.
The allied forces responding to the attack launched a counter-offensive in which they have retaken complete control of the town, forcing “anti-government” forces to flee to the countryside, he added.
Falagle did not give details on casualties as fighting lasted for multiple hours on Saturday, but claimed that they had captured child soldiers deployed by the Sufi group to the front-line areas. Somaliguardian has not been able to verify the minister’s assertion independently.
Ahlu Sunnah fighters launched a counterattack hours after the minister’s remarks on Saturday afternoon, triggering fierce gunfight with allied troops in which the commander of US-trained Danab special forces Abdiladif Fayle and other soldiers were killed, though exact casualties have not been immediately known.
Images circulated on social media showed a plume of smoke billowing into the sky after mortar shells hit residential areas and shops in the town.
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