‘3 Shabab mil­i­tants killed’ in at­tack on base

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Shabab mil­i­tants launched a ma­jor sui­cide at­tack on Sun­day against a mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence and train­ing base in So­ma­lia’s cap­i­tal Mo­gadishu, set­ting off a car bomb be­fore storm­ing in­side, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said.

The in­te­rior min­istry said the three at­tack­ers, one of them a sui­cide bomber, were all killed in the raid, and that the So­mali se­cu­rity forces who fought them suf­fered no ca­su­al­ties.

A spokesman for the al-Qaidaaf­fil­i­ated mil­i­tants con­firmed they car­ried out the at­tack, So­mali media re­ports said.

“There was an at­tack against a base be­long­ing to the se­cu­rity forces. The vi­o­lent el­e­ments used a car bomb to get in­side the com­pound. There was a heavy ex­change of gun­fire,” said Adan Mo­hamed, a So­mali se­cu­rity of­fi­cial.

Wit­nesses near the base, which be­longs to the in­ter­na­tion­ally backed gov­ern­ment’s Na­tional In­tel­li­gence and Se­cu­rity Agency (NISA), re­ported a loud ex­plo­sion fol­lowed by in­tense gun­fire.

“There was a heavy ex­plo­sion and in sec­onds heavy gun­fire broke out. We can­not go out­side the house be­cause of the shoot­ing,” said Ab­du­lahi Yare, a res­i­dent who lives near the base.

In a brief state­ment, NISA said the at­tack had failed.

“The at­tack was suc­cess­fully thwarted by our forces. None of our build­ings nor bases were en­tered,” it said.

So­mali of­fi­cials also dis­played three corpses af­ter the at­tack, which came at the start of Is­lam’s holy fast­ing month of Ramadan — a pe­riod when the Shabab, who are fight­ing to top­ple the Mo­gadishu gov­ern­ment, have in the past in­ten­si­fied at­tacks.

“The se­cu­rity forces have foiled an at­tempted at­tack by the des­per­ate ter­ror­ists,” in­te­rior min­istry spokesman Mo­hamed Yusuf told re­porters.

“One of them det­o­nated him­self and two oth­ers were shot dead. They were try­ing to storm the premises but they have been taken out be­fore they reached their ob­jec­tive. There was no ca­su­alty on our side,” he added.

Kenya As­sas­si­na­tion

In a sep­a­rate at­tack in neigh- bor­ing Kenya, sus­pected Shabab mil­i­tants gunned down a gov­ern­ment ad­min­is­tra­tor in the coun­try’s restive north­east, Kenyan po­lice said.

Mo­hamed Barre Ab­dul­lahi, a lo­cal chief in Wa­jir, which is close to the So­mali bor­der, was shot dead af­ter fin­ish­ing evening prayers at a mosque on Satur­day.

“The as­sailants trailed him to the mosque be­fore tak­ing cover to wait for him as he was pray­ing. They then fol­lowed him un­til he was some short dis­tance away from the place of wor­ship, be­fore pulling the trig­ger,” said Wa­jir County po­lice com­man­der Sa­muel Mukin­dia.

He said the at­tack­ers man­aged to es­cape un­der cover of dark­ness.

Kenyan se­cu­rity sources said the at­tack was likely car­ried out by the Shabab, who have stepped up oper­a­tions in Kenya’s north­east­ern bor­der re­gion, in­clud­ing draw­ing up an al­leged “hit list” of lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who have spo­ken out against the group.

The Shabab, mean­ing “youth” in Ara­bic, emerged out of a bit- ter in­sur­gency against Ethiopia, whose troops en­tered So­ma­lia in a 2006 U.S.-backed in­va­sion to top­ple the Is­lamic Courts Union that was then con­trol­ling the cap­i­tal Mo­gadishu.

Shabab rebels con­tinue to stage fre­quent at­tacks, seek­ing to counter claims that they are close to de­feat af­ter los­ing ter­ri­tory in the face of an African Union and So­mali gov­ern­ment of­fen­sive, reg­u­lar U.S. drone strikes against their lead­ers and de­fec­tions.

The group have also car­ried out a string of re­venge at­tacks in neigh­bor­ing coun­tries — in­clud­ing the Septem­ber 2013 at­tack on the West­gate shop­ping mall in the Kenyan cap­i­tal Nairobi, which left at least 67 dead, and the April mas­sacre of close to 150 stu­dents in Garissa in Kenya’s north­east.

So­ma­lia has been wracked by in­sta­bil­ity since the col­lapse of Siad Barre’s hard-line regime in 1991.

The coun­try’s new gov­ern­ment is be­ing sup­ported by a 22,000- strong AU force that in­cludes troops from Bu­rundi, Dji­bouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

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