MOGADISHU - Al Shabaab rebels attacked Ethiopian troops in southern Somalia on Saturday and dozens were killed in hours of fighting, residents, regional officials and the Islamist rebels said.
There were differing accounts of which side bore the brunt of the fighting in the small town of Yurkud, the worst involving Ethiopian troops since they returned in force to Somalia last year after withdrawing in early 2009.
The fighting came the day after the African Union said Ethiopia planned to pull its troops out of the Horn of Africa nation by the end of April with soldiers from Djibouti, Uganda and Burundi taking their positions.
The governor of Bay region in Somalia, Abdifatah Mohamed Ibrahim Gesey, told Reuters that 130 al Shabaab fighters were killed, with minimal loses on the government and Ethiopian side, after the rebels tried twice to seize Yurkud.
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