Islamists' attack kills 7 troops in Somali town

On August 30, at least 22 people, including Somali soldiers and civilians, were killed in a powerful bomb explosion near the presidential palace in the capital.

"There was heavy fighting in Elwak this afternoon".

Somali Major Mohamed Jimcale told Reuters by telephone from the nearby Somali town of Baardheere that government forces had retreated to another town where there is a base for the African Union's AMISOM force. "We don't have the details yet but there were casualties".

Al Shabaab, which frequently launches attacks on officials in Mogadishu, staged this attack in the build-up to a vote for a new parliament and president, part of efforts to rebuild a nation that has been shattered by two decades of war and chaos.

Reports indicate that the group pulled its fighters out of El Wak town overnight on Saturday.

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Another witness said the jihadists had entered the town disguised as Kenyan soldiers.

A military convoy transporting an army general in the Somali capital of Mogadishu was hit by a suspected auto bomb on Sunday, a police officer said.

"Witnesses said Gobale's vehicle was travelling on the road when another vehicle rammed it, causing a massive blast".

The group, based in Somalia, has lost control of most of the cities and towns which it held in recent years, yet retains a strong hold in rural areas.

  • Sonia Alvarado