Al Shabaab attack army base in southern Somalia, casualties reported

Al Shabaab has attacked a government army base in southern Somalia with two car bombs and gunfire.

BBC journalist Farhan Jimale said the military admitted there were casualties on both sides, but gave no figures.

Earlier today, local media reported a suicide car bomb explosion followed by heavy gunfire reported in Awdheegle district in Lower Shabelle region.

“We heard a huge blast and learnt that a military base was hit by a car bomb but we don’t know additional information,”  Dahir Hassan, a local resident, told Radio Garowe on the phone.

Somali State media cameraman  Ga’al Abdulle was among those killed in today’s attack on the military base, his co-workers confirmed.

The attack comes shortly after Somali National Army and African Union troops retook control of the agriculture-rich town days ago in a joint military operation.

At the same time, state-owned media reported that al Shabaab spokesperson Ali Mohamud Rageh, popularly known as Ali-Dheere was seriously injured in the joint operation.

Al Shabaab terrorists used Awdheegle district as a logistics base for years.

The attack also comes at a time when the UN is pushing for Amisom troops drawback against the wishes of Somalia, the region and the AU.

The first reduction of troops was done in December 2017. In line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2431 (2018), 1,000 troops will withdraw this month in the second phase.

The withdrawal affected Burundian troops, who are based in Jowhar, HirShabelle State.

Hirshabelle President Mohamed Abdi Waare said on February 3 if hurriedly implemented, the drawdown would leave his state vulnerable to attacks. He said there is still work to be done to ensure successful implementation of the Transition Plan.

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