At least four Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers were killed and another was injured in heavy fighting in which Al-Shabaab militant group captured El-Wak town in Gedo region in southern Somalia, officials said Saturday.
SNA spokesman in Gedo region, Col. Warfa Sheikh Aden said the militants suffered heavy casualties during the fighting, which lasted several hours in the town near the Kenyan border.
“Al-Shabaab militants attacked our base on Friday. They were destroyed and defeated two times but they captured the town in their third attempt, (and) there are casualties on both sides. I don’t know on their side, but we lost four soldiers and another one was injured from SNA,” Warfa said.
However, reports said more than 10 Somali soldiers, including senior commanders were killed during Friday’s attack on El-Wak. Al-Shabaab fighters were seen armed with heavy machine guns.
The SNA spokesman said terrorists ambushed the soldiers and used AMISOM vehicles in which they took during the El-Adde attack in the region early this year.
Sources said the insurgents who have been fighting the Somali government hoisted their black flag on the town’s administrative headquarters and spoke to residents as fighters took strategic positions ready to repulse attacks from the joint forces late on Friday.
The El-Wak town is at the Somali border with Kenya and it was among first towns liberated from Al-Shabaab by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), which is part of the Africa Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM).
There was no comment from AMISOM which is reportedly preparing for a major assault against the militants blamed for a series of terror attacks in the Horn of Africa nation.