09/07/08 (B455) Press TV / Des tireurs tuent plus de 45 soldats éthiopiens et somaliens. Gunmen kill over 45 troops in Somalia (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

More than forty five Ethiopian and Somali soldiers have been killed in a gunbattle between the Somali government and Al-Shabaab movement.

The Fighting began after Al-Shabaab movement forces attacked the key government town of Baidoa, 250km southeast Somali capital of Mogadishu on Tuesday, according to a Press TV correspondent.

At least 25 Ethiopian soldiers were killed when Al-Shabaab artillery began shelling 37 rounds of mortars on the Ethiopian soldier’s stronghold, he said.

Attacks by Al-Shabaab movement against Baidoa Airport also left 21 Somali troops dead.

The movement fighters also fired mortars on Somali lawmakers’ homes, but were repelled by Ethiopian forces who fired back on the populated settlements and shopping malls, killing 20 civilians.

Al-Shabaab spokesman Robow Abu Mansuur, in telephone conversation with the Press TV reporter, claimed that their forces killed a hundred Somali troops and 85 other Ethiopian soldiers. The claim, however, was not confirmed by influential people in the town. They only said dead bodies were littered everywhere without giving exact figure.

Meanwhile, Als Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Ali, spokesman for the Young Religious Fighters, condemned the killing of the UNDP chief Osman Ali Ahmed in Somalia.

« Al-Shabaab fighters and the Islamic Courts Union forces never carry out such act, » Robow Ali said. « What we are fighting for is to set free the people, and not to kill them, » the spokesman argued.

Somali government forces have repeatedly attacked Ali Ahmed’s office, and they finally managed to kill him, said the spokesman.