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AU troops repel militant attack on airport in Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab has staged an attack on Friday evening at the airport in the central city of Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug state, in the latest sign that the extremist group is stepping up assaults as the country's political crisis deepens.

Djibouti forces serving under African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] who are based at the airport have stopped the ambush assault after engaging in combat with Al-Shabaab fighters for at least 15 minutes, per local security officials.

A security official who spoke to Garowe Online on condition of anonymity said that the Friday evening attack involving mortar barrage by the militants attempting to take control of the Airport was defeated by the African Union troops who have occupied the facility since last year.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on both sides following the attack which comes weeks after the government and Federal States' leaders have met at the city to discuss the country's upcoming elections.

Al-Shabaab claimed the attack in a posting on its website, saying the fighters have targeted main bases belonging to Djibouti and Ethiopian troops and inflicted heavy losses on them. The group frequently exaggerate the impacts of their attacks.

Al-Shabaab has lost the town to the Sufi militia [Ahlu Sunna] in 2019 and since then the terror group was trying to make a come-back and retake the region from the weak Galmudug regional forces backed by AU troops.

The group has posed enormous security, humanitarian, and governance challenges in Somalia as it battles against the country's army and AU forces from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia. 

The force made up of 22,00 soldiers is a major player in the fight against Al-Shabaab and supporting the Somali Government based in Mogadishu which is currently at loggerheads with Federal States leaders over the elections model.