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At Least 17 Killed in Fresh Somalia Clashes


Witnesses in western Somalia say at least 17 people have been killed in new fighting between Islamist militants and government forces.

Residents of Yeed, a town on Somalia's border with Ethiopia, say fighters from the insurgent group al-Shabab attacked government soldiers on Sunday.

Both sides claimed victory in the clash, and it was not clear who controlled the town on Monday.

Most of those killed are said to be combatants.

Al-Shabab and its ally Hizbul Islam have been on the offensive since early May, calling for increased attacks against government and African Union peacekeeping troops. The groups are trying to overthrow Somalia's government and set up an Islamic state.

On Sunday, al-Shabab released a new video in which militants are shown doing training drills and vowing their allegiance to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

The group staged a deadly suicide attack on an African Union peacekeeping base in the capital, Mogadishu, last week, killing 21 people.

In the wake of the attacks, the AU special envoy to Somalia requested more weapons for the Somali government.

About 4,000 AU troops from Uganda and Burundi are helping the government keep hold of key sites in the capital, including the seaport and the airport.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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