7 dead as Somali troops fight al-Shabab in town near capital

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Somali police say at least seven are dead after hours of clashes as Somali and African Union troops pushed back al-Shabab extremists from a town near Mogadishu.

The attacks in Afgoye started when a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle near a Somali police station and African Union base. Gunmen then attacked military bases.

Capt. Abdullahi Ali, a senior Somali military officer, says troops have now fully secured the town and the extremists have fled.

Police say two al-Shabab fighters and five Somali soldiers were killed.

Al-Shabab claims its fighters killed more than 40 soldiers during the clashes in the town 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of Mogadishu.

Residents confirm that troops have recaptured the town, with hundreds of soldiers patrolling the streets.

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