On Sunday morning, Ethiopian forces and al Shabaab rebels engaged in severe combat close to the town of Rab Dhuure in western Somalia, according to locals.
Residents reported hearing large blasts followed by a heavy explosion in the town of Rab Dhuure in the Bakool region, around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Ethiopian border.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for ambushing a huge convoy of Ethiopian troops operating in the area as part of regional efforts to eliminate the al Qaeda-affiliated group.
"We heard about three huge explosions and then an exchange of heavy guns followed," said resident Hassan Abdulle.
"It was a fierce fighting with shells and other weapons but we don't know the details," said Fatuma Ali, who lives in Rab Dhuure.
Reporters stated that Requests for comment from Ethiopia's army and Somali officials went unanswered.
Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya decided in February to launch "search and destroy" operations against al Shabaab in addition to the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force, which is set to leave Somalia by the end of next year.
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