Mogadishu: Clashes between Somali militia and government-allied troops have killed at least 13 people, mainly insurgent fighters, officials said.
The insurgents attacked government forces in Dhobley, a town near the Kenyan border, sparking the clashes.
"The violent elements attacked a village outside Dhobley last night in a bid to penetrate our barracks. We defeated them and killed more than 10 of their fighters," said Osmail Abdi, a Somali government security official.
Residents also said many fighters from both sides were killed and that two civilians had died.
"Most of the people killed in the fighting were fighters from the two sides. Only two of them were civilians caught in the crossfire," said local resident Abdulkadir Diriye. The civilian deaths were not confirmed.
The African Union force in the country meanwhile said it had killed an insurgent commander in an offensive on Thursday that also claimed the lives of two of its troops.
"On our part we lost two soldiers and three others sustained injuries.”
"I commend the brave officers... who are right now risking their lives to secure the people of Mogadishu," the force`s commander Nathan Mugusha said.
Somali government forces backed by allied militia and African Union troops have carried out attacks against the al Qaeda-inspired Shebab rebels who control much of Somalia and seized some territory from the insurgents.