MOGADISHU, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Somalia's Galmudug State forces killed 67 al-Shabab militants and wounded several others in a foiled attack in the central town of Bahdo early Friday.
The Information Minister of Galmudug Ahmed Shire told the Somali National News Agency that the local residents and regional forces repulsed the attack by al-Shabab militants on the town in Galgaduud region.
Shire said the troops arrested a suicide bomber who was planning to detonate vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) on the security forces and villagers.
The minister said the vehicle was also seized as well as weapons that the suicide bomber had intended to use to stage the attack.
"The army and the local residents repelled an attack by al-Shabab on the town on Friday," Shire said of the heavy fighting which the locals said ensued for about two hours and resulted in casualties on both sides.
Six government troops and a civilian were killed in the fighting.
Odowaa Yusuf Rage, chief of Defense Forces, said that the Somali National Army (SNA) elite force Danab and Galmudug Paramilitary forces are searching for the militants who fled the area, noting that the death toll could rise.
The residents said relative calm has been restored in the town which is under the control of Galmudug security forces.
The government forces have vowed to intensify security operations in the central and southern regions until the insurgents who have conducted terror attacks to kill and maim innocent residents will have been wiped out from the regions.
The terror group has lost many areas previously under its control, but the militant group is still capable of staging attacks in Somalia. ■