Somalia's al-Shabaab storms government military base

After seizing control of a small town in Somalia's Puntland region, Islamic militant group al-Shabaab reportedly attacked a Somali military base Monday near the south coast and killed 27 troops.
By Rick Docksai | Dec 11, 2018
A Somali military base suffered a combined suicide car-bomb attack and ground assault Monday at the hands of Islamic militant group al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab claims to have killed at least 27 soldiers in the attack, in which they briefly occupied the base before retreating as military reinforcements arrived to fight them off.

"We first attacked the base with a suicide car bomb and then stormed," said Abdiasis Abu Musab, an al-Shabaab spokesman. "We killed 27 soldiers and took the base. Some soldiers fled into the jungles."

The base is in Baar Sanguni, a village roughly 30 miles from the port city of Kismayo in Somalia's far south.

Residents of the town of Jamame, around 44 miles away, reported hearing the car-bomb explosion followed by rounds of gunfire. The military sent reinforcements to the base after receiving news of the attack.

An official said that the military killed 87 al-Shabaab fighters and secured the base. He also dismissed the reports of 27 military deaths.

The incident follows an earlier attack on the same base last month in which al-Shabaab fighters wounded seven soldiers. It also comes less than 24 hours after al-Shabaab forces took control of Af Urur, a small but strategic town in Somalia's Puntland region.

The militant group has been clashing with Somalia's official UN-recognized government for more than a decade. It seeks to overthrow the government, expel UN forces, and establish a nationwide regime based on its fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.

Somali military forces drove the group out of Mogadishu, the nation's capital, in 2011 and have dislodged it from most major cities and towns in the years since. But international organizations said that the group still commands a strong presence in less-populated areas.

 

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