Al-Shabab gunmen attack military base in central Somalia


The latest attack comes within days of a suicide bombing by al-Shabab near a military base in the capital Mogadishu.

Suspected Al-Shabab fighters attacked a Somali military base in the central Galgaduud region on Monday, the defense ministry said, days after the area was occupied by government forces.

The army repulsed the attack on the base with national and local troops in Qayib, a village captured from al-Shabab last week, Defense Ministry spokesman Abdullahi Ali Anod told state news agency SONNA.

The attack began with two suicide car bombs at about 5 a.m. local time (02:00 GMT), followed by hours of intense fighting, Ahmed Hassan, a military officer in the nearby city of Bahdo, told Reuters news agency.

It was not immediately clear how many people had died in the raid, Hassan said.

In a statement, Al-Shabab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said the group launched the attack in Qayib using suicide car bombs before the fighters attacked from different directions. The fighters killed several soldiers and stole weapons and military vehicles, Abu Musab said.

Government forces, supported by clan militias, have made a number of battlefield gains against al-Shabab in the past three months, retaking territory long in the group’s hands.

In response, Al-Shabab killed at least 100 people on October 29 in double car bombings at the Ministry of Education in the capital Mogadishu, the deadliest explosions in five years.

A suicide bomber also killed at least five people and injured 11 others on Saturday in an incident near a military training camp in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-affiliated armed group that has been fighting in Somalia for more than a decade, is seeking to overthrow the country’s central government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

The fighters were expelled from Mogadishu in 2011 by African Union peacekeepers. But it still controls parts of the Somali countryside and has ramped up attacks since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May and promised “all-out war” against the group.

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