Fighting between al Shabaab rebels and Ethiopia backed Somali government forces on Saturday left dozens dead in some parts of the horn of Africa nation.
The fighting has been described as the fiercest the affected regions have seen in weeks.
According to Reuters, the governor of Bay region in Somalia, Abdifatah Mohamed Ibrahim Gesey, said 130 al Shabaab fighters were killed in Yurkud and added the government and Ethiopian troops suffered minimal lossed.
Al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, however told Reuters its forces killed 73 Ethiopian soldiers and lost 5 of its fighters. Musab also said the forces captured two of Ethiopia’s soldiers.
Warring sides tend to exaggerate their successes and underplay their losses after such clashes, reports Reuters, adding the actual death toll is probably lower than the figure opposing sides gave.
The latest fighting was said to had erupted after some Al-shabab fighters launched a surprise attack on military bases belonging to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopian forces at a small village between the town of Bardala and Luq in Bay and Gedo regions of southwestern Somalia.
It came, reportedly, the day after the African Union said Ethiopia planned to withdraw its troops from Somalia by the end of April to be replaced with soldiers from Djibouti, Uganda and Burundi.