A coalition of raids, by US special forces in Somalia and African Union (AU) forces, led to a fierce gun battle with fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabaab in their bases in the southern Somali town of Barire, some 60km from the capital, Mogadishu.
Locals said they heard loud explosions and gunfire during the operation, which happens to be the latest attack since the war against the al-Qaeda-linked militants has been stepped up.
Residents also said the US forces were on the ground, backing US-trained Somali commandos and accompanied by AU troops as they entered Barire.
Shots were also fired from US helicopters which were flying overhead during the operation, but there were no air strikes. They also disclose that al-Shabaab fighters fled Barire, and coalition forces took over but withdrew later possibly after ruining al-Shabaab bases within the town.
But the al-Qaeda-linked militants said its fighters had repelled the attack and that the troops didn’t achieve their aim.
The US has not confirmed the report yet, but Somali officials have confirmed the joint operation. Though the casualty figure is yet to be unveiled, a good number of the militants are said to have been murdered during the battle.
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This is the latest of involvement of the United State in the Somali campaign against Al-Shabaab. Last week, US officials confirmed that its special forces had opened “defensive fire” after al-Shabaab tried to overpower Somali and AU troops.
The U.S airstrike wrecked a suspected al-Shabaab checkpoint, killing at least five militants, the Pentagon confirmed on Thursday. The strike, which took place in an area west of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, was called in by a U.S. special operations team helping Ugandan forces during an attack on the al-Shabaab checkpoint, Pentagon spokesman Capt. James Davis said.
The Captain also reported figures on their own part, stating that no American or Ugandan soldier was hurt during the raid or ensuing airstrike. The checkpoint was being used by the Islamic State affiliated group to extort money from individuals traveling through the area.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Militants have seen a stepped up action from the KDF in recent times.