Contradicitng claims

Sheikh Musa Arale, a spokesman for Hizb ul-Islam, said: "We have killed many of them and we lost several mujahidin. We have taken control of Wabho village and captured several armoured vehicles from the enemy forces."

In depth


 Video: Foreign fighters 'invade' Somalia
 Profile: Sharif Ahmed
Timeline: Somalia
Restoring Somalia
A long road to stability
Al-Shabab: Somali fighters undeterred
 Somalia at a crossroads
 Somaliland: Africa's isolated state
 Riz Khan: The vanishing Somalis

Muktar Fidow, a commander of Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jama'ah, dismissed the claim.

"Nobody has full control of Wabho at the moment and heavy fighting is ongoing. They have suffered heavy losses and so have we," he said.

Towns in central Somalia have been changing hands regularly between rival factions in on-off fighting throughout the year.

Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jama'ah was originally a religious organisation rooted in Somalia's Sufi brand of Islam but it took up arms in parts of Galgudud earlier this year to challenge al-Shabab.

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency said the number of people forced to flee their homes during a month of fighting in Mogadishu, the capital, neared 100,000, adding to one million already displaced across the country.

Three million Somalis need urgent food aid.

Aid agencies say Somalia has one of the world's worst, and most neglected, humanitarian crises.