News24

Somali clashes kill at least 12 soldiers

2012-12-05 22:22

Mogadishu - At least 12 soldiers were killed in clashes with Islamist al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia's semi-autonomous north-eastern state of Puntland, officials said on Wednesday.

According to officials, the soldiers were killed when Puntland forces clashed with al-Shabaab fighers in the Bari region, near the Gulf of Aden coast, from Tuesday to Wednesday night.

At least seven militants were also killed, officials said.

The location of the recent attack in the Galgala hills is believed to be a hiding place for Islamist al-Shabaab militants.

The recent fighting comes a day after three ministers were ambushed in Merca town, about 100km south of Mogadishu.

The ministers survived the attack, which al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility for.

Separately, dozens of al-Shabaab fighters have reportedly arrived in the town of Jowhar, about 90km north of the capital, to prevent it from being retaken by government troops.

Al-Shabaab has been waging an insurgency against the government since 2007, but in the past year has been on the back foot, ceding ground to African Union troops, who have secured key regions for the government of the Horn of Africa nation.