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According to Musa Ahmed, a local of El-Berde, both sides used heavy weapons. “I saw the bodies of al-Shabaab militants and also TFG troops, what I saw downtown was about 18 bodies, including seven government troops. I can’t give you complete numbers of those killed, but this is what I have seen in my eyes.”
Within an hour of the fighting beginning, al-Shabaab had seized the center of El-Berde, while TFG troops had escaped to the outskirts of town, Ahmed added.
Senior al-Shabaab officials told local residents that the aim of their attack is to weaken the power of TFG and Ethiopian forces in the region. During their seizure of El-Berde, the militants asked residents to support their guerilla attacks against allied forces in the Bay and Bakool regions.
Sheikh Adan Yare, al-Shabaab commissioner for Hudur district, told Somalia Report that dozens of al-shabaab fighters had seized the town on Wednesday morning, and he claimed al-Shabaab had killed several government officials and troops. “We killed the commissioner of the district Ibrahim Omar Dheere, Mohamed Bare, the finance minister, and the police commander Zaytuun.” Mr. Adan didn’t speak about al-Shabaab casualties and no other sources have confirmed his claims.
The governor of Bakopl region, Mohamed Moalim, denied al-Shabaab's claims to have killed government ministers, he also mentioned the death of six TFG soldiers.
Locals have told Somalia Report that an unknown number of civilians were killed during the fighting, as shelling and stray bullets passed through their homes.
TFG troops, backed by Ethiopia, have been controlling the town for more than three years.
Guerilla attacks against TFG troops and Ethiopian forces have been ongoing in Bay and Bakool regions since February 22, when the allied forces seized control of Baidoa, a key town in southwest Somalia.