A minister says heavily armed Al shabaab militants have engaged in a fierce gunfight with fighters loyal to former spokesman Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur near Hudur town on Wednesday.

The deputy minister of security for Southwest state of Somalia, Abdirizak Abdi Aden, has confirmed the clashes to Radio Shabelle, saying they will send a back up troops to rescue Abu Mansur from Al shabaab.

Aden stated that the battle erupted after Al shabaab has launched a massive raid on Abal, a small town located about 18Km west of Hudur, in an apparent attempt to arrest or kill Abu Mansur.

Abu Mansur who served as deputy leader of Al shabab, has been hiding in the area since 2013, after defecting his from Al shabaab following a fall out with former leader killed in US raid Sep 01, 2014.