Somalia government officials say at least twenty-five people were killed after members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group carried out attacks on two separate towns in the south of the country.
Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Siidii, governor of the Lower Shabelle region, said at least 10 soldiers and 15 militants were killed when al-Shabab extremists stormed military buildings in the towns of Mubarak, located about 75 kilometers (46 miles) west of the capital, Mogadishu, as well as Awdheegle.
Local residents said hundreds of troops were sent to the two towns in an attempt to regain control over them.
Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Muscab, speaking on Andalus radio station, said members of the group mounted the attacks.
The development comes days after al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the assassination of a parliament member of Somalia’s northeastern semi-autonomous region of Puntland.
The militants, in a statement released on May 9, said they had fatally shot Said Hussein Nur the previous day, warning that “such attacks will continue.”
Nur’s death brought to two the number of Puntland lawmakers assassinated in recent weeks. Last month, Shabab militants opened fire at Aden Haji Hussein and killed him on the spot as he was on a visit to Mogadishu.
Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke faces an uphill battle to rein in corruption, defeat the al-Shabab extremists and rebuild the war-ravaged Somalia, which has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab since 2006.