MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somalia’s government said on Monday that its troops captured “nearly 100 rebels” in a fighting in the town of Balad-hawo on the border with Kenya.
Somali Information Minister Osman Abokor Dube, briefing journalists in the capital Mogadishu, noted that “Kenya’s defense forces and a guerilla group” it backed crossed the border into Somalia and attacked army bases in the town of Balad-Hawo.
The aim of the assault was to take over the strategic town that would have been a “significant blow to the sovereignty of Somalia”, Osman Abokor Dube said.
Mr Dube reiterated that the Somali government troops pushed back the rebel attack and captured “nearly 100 rebels”, “who would not be displayed according to the international humanitarian law”, which protects prisoners of war and detainees.
There were reports that shells hit residential areas and the minister accused “the rebels armed by foreign governments” of firing artillery shells which struck a family home, killing 4 children and their mother.
Troops who launched the offensive on Balad-hawo town are said to be loyal to fugitive Jubaland Security Minister Abdirashid Janan.
Jubaland authorities said their base outside Balad-hawo had been attacked by federal government troops overnight and subsequently launched an offensive in response to the assault. It also claimed taking the town while videos circulated online showed its forces at the city center.
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