15 killed as Somali troops begin new offensive

October 18, 2010 14:58


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NAIROBI, Kenya — An offensive launched by Somali government troops has killed at least 15 people as the weak, UN-backed government attempts to win back control of areas held by militants, officials said Monday.

The government said the offensive, which began Sunday, has recorded some early successes, with militants fleeing from at least one town near the border with Kenya.

Somalia's Ministry of Information said 11 al-Shabab militants and one government soldier have been killed in the fighting. A witness said at least three civilians died. There was no way to independently verify the casualty figures.

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