Mogadishu, Aug 31 IANS | 2 months ago

At least seven Al Shabaab militants were killed by security forces after they launched an attack on a high-security prison in the capital Mogadishu, the Somali presidency said Sunday.

"Seven Al Shabaab (militants) were killed in an attack on Godka Jilicow prison in Mogadishu, Somalia," the Somali presidency said in a tweet, Xinhua reported.

Witnesses said the bodies of seven dead militants lay strewn near the prison while government forces took up positions in and around the area.

The prison is located in the south of the capital city, where the government intelligence agency interrogates suspected Al Shabaab members.

Media reports said that two security personnel and one civilian were also killed in the attack. Thirty-eight Al Shabaab members sentenced to death were among prisoners in Godka Jilicow.

"They tried to gain access to the prison but they were repulsed by the security forces. Some of them were eliminated and others fled and are being pursued by the police," police officer Ali Omar said.

The attack started with a suicide car bomb explosion near the prison and subsequent exchange of fire between militants and Somali government forces backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack on the prison.

The attack came after AMISOM with Somali National Army Saturday captured from the group the strategic town of Bulo Marer in lower Shabelle region. The town is 115 km southwest of Mogadishu. The forces also captured Goolweyn and Jerlio towns during the operation.

African Union officials said the capture of Bulo Marer is critical for operations to liberate the port city of Baraawe, one of the sources of illicit revenue for the group.

(Posted on 31-08-2014)

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