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100 Shabaab ‘dead’ in battle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – More than 100 Al Shabaab militants were killed during intense fighting Tuesday with fighters of the Ahlusunna Waljamaa in the town of Dhusamareb in Central Somalia.

The Head of the Political Section of Ahlusunna Waljamaa, Abdisalan Adan Hussein told Capital FM News in Nairobi that at least ten of their members were killed during the fighting, and thirty more wounded.

“There a lot of Al Shabaab bodies littered in the town as we speak,” Hussein said in an interview in Nairobi.

Hussein said “the fighting started at 5am when the Al Shabaab raided our town, but we were prepared and our forces were able to defend the town and our people.”

“The casualties on our part are very minimal, but the Al Shabaab have suffered major casualties, they have left behind a lot of their fighting equipment,” he added.

Tension remained high in the town of Dhusamareb which was littered with bodies by late Tuesday.

Al Shabaab however, tweeted claiming that their forces had not suffered major casualties during the Tuesday fighting.

Their claims were immediately dismissed by officials of Ahlusinna Pajama as “propaganda.”

“They are not telling the truth, they are the ones who have been beaten, we were well prepared and we knew they were coming. Our forces were prepared,” Hussein said.

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The fighting occurred when Al Shabaab fighters on pickup trucks mounted with machine guns stormed Dhusamareb town at dawn.

They were aiming to drive out the pro-government militia Ahlusunna WalJamaa, an Ethiopia-backed force who follow Somalia’s traditional Sufi branch of Islam.

Dhusamareb is a strategic town in the central Galgadud region controlling a key road.

The Shebab face increasing pressure from pro-government forces and regional armies, and last month lost control of their strategic base of Baidoa to Ethiopian troops, the second major loss in six months after abandoning fixed bases in capital.

Kenya sent its troops into southern Somalia to fight them in October, blaming the Al Shabaab for the abductions of several foreigners. Its troops have now been incorporated into the AU force.

Ethiopian forces entered Somalia a month later in the west, as international diplomatic, military and relief efforts focus on ending the conflict in the south.

The Shebab and other militia groups have tried to exploit the power vacuum in Somalia, which has had no effective central authority since plunging into war 21 years ago when president Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled.

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