Al-Shabaab's landmine kills five soldiers outside Somalia's capital
MOGADISHU, Somalia - An Al-Shabaab-planted landmine left five Somali National Army [SNA] soldiers dead and several injured, reports said, in the latest assault by the insurgents.
The vehicle ferrying SNA training ran through the landmine at Sinka-Dheer in the suburbs of Mogadishu on Monday, causing massive destruction, police said.
Victims of the attack had been part of anti-Alshabaab operation troops in Lower Shebelle, one of the few remaining Al-Shabaab strongholds, in southern Somalia.
According to multiple sources within SNA who spoke to Garowe Online, the remote-controlled landmine caught the soldiers off guard, causing the deaths of five Somali nationals army personnel.
The SNA troops had been battling Al-Shabaab militants in Lower Shebelle along with AMISOM soldiers throughout the weekend, sources said.
In a statement through an affiliate site, the Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility, arguing that "we are determined to crush the enemy". It claimed that six SNA soldiers died while three were wounded.
The militants said, "our target was perfect and we shall continue unleashing on collaborators who are out to destroy stability in our country."
Previously, Al-Shabaab has insisted that its attacks do not target civilians, even though most of the casualties have been innocent people throughout Somalia.
Last week, there were reports that two Al-Shabaab commanders had been expelled by Ahmed Omar, the Al-Shabaab leader, after a fallout triggered by civilian deaths.
Somalia's government has dispatched Turkish-trained SNA contingent to Lower Shebelle, as it intensifies crackdown against the militants.
Lower Shebelle is one of few regions still under Al-Shabaab control, with the militants also in the strong grip of sections of Jubaland, particularly in Lower and Middle Juba.
Allied forces led by the US have also continued with the onslaught against the Al-Qaida associated insurgents, with airstrikes killing dozens at Jilib town in recent weeks.
Somalia suffered huge losses on December 28th when the militants used a car bomb to unleash in Mogadishu, leaving over 90 people dead, officials said.