So­mali Shabab at­tack army camp killing sev­eral sol­diers

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sev­eral So­mali sol­diers were killed overnight Sun­day when Shabab fight­ers at­tacked a base in the south­ern Kis­mayo re­gion, of­fi­cials and wit­nesses said Mon­day.

The at­tack is the latest in a string of as­saults by the al-Qaidaaf­fil­i­ated in­sur­gents, who last week stormed a base manned by the African Union forces in So­ma­lia (AMISOM), killing dozens.

Heavy gun­fire was re­ported late Sun­day for sev­eral hours, with the Shabab briefly tak­ing over the camp near Kis­mayo and be­head­ing some of those cap­tured be­fore loot­ing sup­plies and leav­ing, wit­nesses said.

“There was heavy fight­ing that left sev­eral of the sol­diers dead,” said se­cu­rity of­fi­cial Ab­di­rashid Moalim, speak­ing from Kis­mayo.

“There were ma­chine guns and rock­ets, and the fight­ing ended when the sol­diers were over­pow­ered,” said Abdi Bakar, a wit­ness, who said he had seen nine bod­ies.

The Shabab is fight­ing to over­throw So­ma­lia’s Western­backed gov­ern­ment which is propped up and pro­tected by the 22,000-strong AMISOM force.

On Fri­day, the Shabab at­tacked an AMISOM base in Lego vil­lage, 100 kilo­me­ters (62 miles) north­west of the cap­i­tal Mo­gadishu, manned by around 100 Burundian sol­diers.

The Shabab later boasted of hav­ing killed 80 sol­diers, and car­ried off the bod­ies of 60 of them, be­fore set­ting the base on fire.

In a state­ment the group said the as­sault had been recorded and promised “im­ages of the at­tack will soon be pub­lished.”

Wit­nesses re­ported see­ing dozens of bod­ies, but there has been no for­mal con­fir­ma­tion of ca­su­al­ties and the toll was not pos­si­ble to con­firm in­de­pen­dently.

Un­der mil­i­tary pres­sure at home, Shabab is in­creas­ingly turn­ing its at­ten­tion to Kenya where it has launched a string of re­cent deadly as­saults, as well as fo­cus­ing on guer­rilla-style war­fare in So­ma­lia.

The Is­lamic mil­i­tants com­monly step up their at­tacks dur­ing Is­lam’s holy fast­ing month of Ramadan. On Wed­nes­day six peo­ple were killed in a sui­cide at­tack in Mo­gadishu on a diplo­matic con­voy from the United Arab Emi­rates.

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