MOGADISHU (Somalilandpress)-Somali government troops have made its initial advance into the rebel-held areas in the north of Mogadishu in a heavy fighting that left 37 more dead and injured 113, officials, witnesses said.
Witnesses said government troops with the help of the African union have crossed into the insurgency-racked district Karan. Soldiers appear to have encountered lighter than expected resistance from the Alshabaab who were reported to have entrenched in the nearby areas and mined the roadways.
‘’ I have seen 18 dead Alshabaab fighters lying on one street and 5 government soldiers’’ Resident Fadumo Osman told Somalilandpress by phone from Karan.
Soldiers seized Karan, Behani and the notorious Sana where Alshabaab have conducted public executions including beheading and have dumped the bodies of those who opposed their rule.
The state Minster for the defense Yusuf Mohamed Siad said his troops have powerfully kicked the politically fractured militants.
‘’ Our troops have made tangible developments in the latest fighting’’ Indha Adde, the TFG’s defense minister said.
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The military also launched an operation in Jardinka intersection and reportedly killed five militant fighters.
As the military moves into the north after almost hours of heavy fighting, the militants may have decided to conduct a tactical withdrawal of its forces estimated at between 5,000 to 7,000 fighters.
Hospital and ambulance sources said at least 37 people were killed and 113 more were injured, although the death toll may rise for the heavy shellings going on.
Alshabaab’s control over many key regions across the country has left Somali government isolated from much of the country, causing visible panic.
Residents have been queuing at streets and in markets as troops and military hardware stream towards the north.
Belligerent factions in Mogadishu have been locked in a tense stand-off for weeks, amid expectations of an imminent offensive by the government and its African Union backers to wrest Somalia back from the insurgency.