Somalia’s army has killed scores of al-Shabab militants after the al-Qaeda-linked Takfiri terrorist group attacked two key military bases in the country’s southwest.
Brigadier General Mohamed Tahlil Bihi, a military infantry commander, said at least 76 militants were killed Saturday when al-Shabab launched a pre-dawn attack on two Somali National Army bases in the towns of Bariire and Awdhegle in Lower Shabelle region, southwestern Somalia.
Bihi also said the army troops had captured 10 other militants during the fierce fighting between the terrorist group and the military.
The military commander provided no details on losses suffered by the army.
Witnesses in Awdhegle confirmed the report and said Somali troops had repelled the militants after around an hour of heavy fighting.
“Shabab gunmen used a vehicle loaded with explosives to launch the attack, but they failed to enter the camp after nearly an hour of exchanging machine gun fire with the Somali troops,” town resident Mohamed Ali was quoted as saying by AFP.
“I saw several dead bodies of the Shabab gunmen near the camp where the fighting occurred; the Somali soldiers paraded these bodies after the fighting.”Al-Shabaab bomb attack kills governor in SomaliaA governor in Somalia’s Puntland is killed in a bomb attack by militants from the Takfiri al-Shabab group.
Witnesses in Bariire said a car bomb had been detonated before heavily armed al-Shabab gunmen stormed the base.
“We heard a heavy explosion caused by a suicide bomber ramming a car at the entrance to the base and a heavy exchange of gunfire followed,” said resident Abdirahim Malin.
“A few minutes later the militant fighters managed to enter the camp and torched some military supplies belonging to the Somali army.”
Somali government forces have been battling al-Shabab militants since 2006.
The militants controlled Mogadishu between 2007 and 2011, when they were driven out of the Somali capital with help from African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces. A period of relative calm started in Mogadishu afterward.
Al-Shabab militants, however, still retain a significant presence, reportedly roaming freely and posing a threat in regions outside the capital where the central government has little control.
The group launches regular attacks on government, military and civilian targets.
The country is now beset by the growing threat of Daesh as the Takfiri terrorist group is seeking to find a new foothold after being vanquished from Iraq and much of Syria.Bomb attack kills over a dozen troops in central SomaliaMore than a dozen members of Somalia
Five killed in bombing attack in Somali capital
In another development on Saturday, Somalia’s police said five civilians, including a child, were killed when a bomber detonated his explosives at a tea shop in Mogadishu.
“Around 7 in the evening, a suicide bomber detonated himself at a tea shop frequented by the youth,” police spokesman Sadiq Dudishe said in a statement.
“Six people, four of them youth, a child, and the suicide bomber died in the blast. Four others were wounded.”
Media reports, citing a witness, said the bomber walked into a crowd who were drinking tea in an open area near a police station in the capital.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the aback.