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AU mission repulses Al-Shabaab from taking 2 towns in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Kenya, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Africa Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) confirmed on Friday that its forces repulsed Al-Shabaab militants who attempted to recapture two government bases in southern region.

AMISOM Sector One Commander, Brigadier General Sam Kavuma said the forces successfully repulsed the militants in the Lower Shabelle region in the early hours of Friday and are now on the run.

"The already weakened militia were unable to take on the government forces and suffered massive defeat," Kavuma said in a brief statement issued in Mogadishu.

The AMISOM commander said the Al-Qaida allied militant group attempted an attack on Awddhegle and Mubarak towns but were overpowered by government forces.

He said the militants are desperately looking for operational bases after being pushed out of all their strongholds. The two towns are located about 75kms west of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Residents had earlier said that militants armed with crude weapons attacked positions manned by Somali government in the town of Awdhegle forcing the government troops to flee.

"The Islamists attacked the town at the dawn this morning and forced government troops to flee after fighting that lasted two hours" Abshir Ali, a resident at the town had told Xinhua.

Al-Shabab radio also claimed that the insurgents killed at least ten government soldiers before they took the control of the two neighboring towns of Awdhegle and Mubarak

"We have killed at least ten apostate soldiers and confiscated both ammunition and battle wagons," said the rebel commander who spoke to the group's radio of Andulus.

The fall of Awdhegle and Mubarak could have been a terrible blow to the Somali government which is now struggling to form interim federal states in the south and central Somalia including lower Shabelle region.

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