Two Western jihadist fighters and two locals have been killed by the Islamist al-Shabaab militia in Somalia, witnesses say.
The four were part of a group that splintered from al-Shabaab this year, citing the increasingly radical nature of the organisation, which has become affiliated with al-Qaeda.
The two foreigners are believed to be Omar Hammami, known as al-Amriki because of his ties to the United States, and Osama al-Britani, a British citizen of Pakistani origin. Hammami grew up in Alabama.
They were killed after a fierce gun battle outside the town of Bardhere in the Gedo region.
The US State Department this year offered a 5-million-dollar reward for the capture of al-Amriki, who was known for posting jihadist rap videos on YouTube.
Ahmed Abdi Godane, the hardliner now heading al-Shabaab, and is said to be taking the group in the direction of global jihad as the militia appears to be increasingly on the back foot inside Somalia.
“Godane gave the orders to kill these men,” said an al-Shabaab member in southern Somalia.
The two foreigners and their local allies were affiliated with Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a Somali Islamist who led the split from al-Shabaab this year.
Aweys is now being held by the central government, which is seeking ways to reconcile the different communities in the country after more than 20 years of civil war.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb exploded in the Juba region, killing seven people. The target was apparently Ahemd Madobe, an interim regional leader.
Madobe, whose condition was unknown, was returning in a convoy from a meeting with representatives of the federal government.