Al-Shabab militants kill 2 gov’t officials in southern Somalia

Al-Shabab militants on Wednesday killed two government officials during an ambush in the outskirts of Bal’ad town in the southern Middle Shabelle region, an officer confirmed.

According to an officer who declined to be named, the militants launched an attack in Adayga village and there was an exchange of fire between the army and the militants.

“Abdullahi Hassan Haji, the district chief and his deputy Elmi Qoje Hassan died in the gunfight and the militants withdrew from the town,” the officer said, adding that government soldiers are now pursuing the attackers.

“Some hooded men attacked the village targeting the district chief’s house, we could hear the sound of fire. People said the chief and his deputy were killed in the attack,” Garad Dhaqane, a resident told Xinhua via phone.

This came after al-Shabab extremists killed two soldiers on Nov. 4 in another ambush in Bule Burde town in the central region of Hiraan.

Somali army backed by African Union Mission in Somalia chased al-Shabab extremists from the capital Mogadishu in August 2011, but the militants still hold swathes of rural areas in the central and southern regions, conducting ambushes and planting land mines.