Somalia's al Shabaab fighters kill at least 7 in attack near capital Featured

Fighters from Somalia's al Shabaab militant group attacked a town north of the capital, Mogadishu, on Thursday, killing at least seven people as they battled government security forces, a resident and police said.

The attack happened amid a political dispute between Somalia’s president and prime minister which its international partners worry has distracted the government from the fight against the insurgents.

Police and residents in Balad, 30 km (18 miles) north of Mogadishu, said fighters from the al Qaeda-linked group attacked and overran government forces guarding a bridge at a town entrance early in the morning.

"We were in a mosque praying when a heavy exchange of gunfire took place at the bridge. Al Shabaab thus captured the town, overrunning the soldiers at the bridge," Hassan Nur, a shopkeeper in Balad, an agricultural town that links Somalia's Middle Shabelle region to Lower Shabelle, told Reuters by telephone.

 

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