On Monday, a senior Somali military officer, Colonel Warfaa Ali, said his soldiers had recovered the bullet-riddled bodies of at least thirty militants, some of whom appeared to be children.
Al Shabaab retreated from the distant capital Mogadishu last month after losing key strategic bases in the coastal city, but warned it would fight on elsewhere amid internal divisions and reports of a shortage of combatants.
Somali troops, with logistical and intelligence support from Kenya and Ethiopia, regained control of a string of towns along the border with both neighbours earlier this year, but the insurgents had vowed to strike back.
The intensity of the weekend attack on Elwaq signalled a possible revival of al Shabaab in the semi arid border areas.
Elwaq is a stone's throw from Kenya, east Africa's biggest economy that has trained and armed Somali government troops and militia fighters, both groups say, in the hope they create a buffer zone distancing the militants from Kenyan territory.
Fear of another insurgent assault gripped residents on Monday and local businesses remained bordered up.
"It's still tense because al Shabaab could come back at any time," VIA (Reuters)