Fifteen Al-Shabaab and four army officers killed in intense Middle Shabelle fighting

The Somali National Army has said that it killed 15 members of Al-Shabaab following heavy fighting in Haji Ali area, Adale district of Middle Shabelle Region, south of the country.

In a statement, the Defense Ministry said soldiers in the area received information of an imminent attack by Al-Shabaab, and prepared accordingly to meet the threat. The Al-Shabaab fighters were defeated in the initial attack, forcing the militants to launch four follow up attacks in an effort to retrieve their dead and wounded, according to the statement.

The ministry said the army had lost a commander, a deputy commander and two soldiers in the battle.

For its part, Al-Shabaab said its fighters destroyed a military base in the area and killed five soldiers, including the commander of the army in Haji Ali.

The militant group also claims injuring five other soldiers and seizing armored vehicles and other supplies in the fight.