MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Militant Islamist group al Shabaab struck a Somali authorities army base on Wednesday with automobile bombs and gunfire in a battle that either side mentioned prompted a number of deaths to the opposite.
Witnesses mentioned some native residents have been additionally killed by stray crossfire throughout the mid-morning assault on the bottom in Awdheegle, 70 km (43 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
Al Shabaab is combating the weak, U.N.-backed Somali authorities and its worldwide allies in a quest to impose its strict interpretation of Islamic legislation. The Horn of Africa nation has been riven by civil conflict since 1992, when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator, then turned on one another.
Basic Yusuf Rage Odowa, commander of operations in Somalia’s military, mentioned troops had repelled the jihadists in Awdheegle. “The forces knew the crafty of the militants and they also foiled the assault,” he mentioned, including that varied of the attackers’ corpses lay on the scene whereas others have been captured.
Captain Hussein Ali, a army officer from a close-by city, mentioned troopers behind sandbags had efficiently stopped the automobile bombs from reaching the bottom, in an agricultural district alongside the Shabelle River, by firing to detonate them.
“There are casualties from al Shabaab and authorities forces, however we have now no precise determine,” he mentioned.
The al Qaeda-linked group mentioned it had killed 50 troopers and solely suffered two losses of militants who drove the automobile bombs. Military autos have been burned, it additionally mentioned.
Al Shabaab and authorities officers routinely give totally different variations and casualty figures for assaults.
Amongst these killed was a journalist working with the military’s radio station, the Federation of Somali Journalists mentioned.
The assault got here after Somali authorities forces had final week captured most components of Awdheegle district.
“We heard two big blasts and gunfire from the course of the Somali army base. I noticed a number of troopers operating away from the bottom to flee however we can not know what number of have been killed,” elder Aden Abdullahi informed Reuters from the scene.
Shopkeeper and mother-of-four Halima Farah informed Reuters that authorities troops have been in command of the city after the assault.
“Now we have now come out of the homes,” Farah mentioned by telephone.
“We consider each the militants and authorities suffered nice losses of lives in the present day however we can not see their casualties. Stray bullets killed folks of their homes,” she added, saying a relative of hers died after being hit within the head.
Al Shabaab was pressured out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has since misplaced most of its different strongholds. However its fighters steadily perform assaults in Somalia and neighboring Kenya, whose troops kind a part of an African peacekeeping pressure.
Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Writing by George Obulutsa; Modifying by Andrew Cawthorne