​Somalia: Al-Shabab seizes army base, kills soldiers

Somalia

BARIRE, Somalia - The Al Qaeda-linked Somalia's armed group al-Shabab has attacked a military base in Lower Shabelle region on Friday morning, killing an unspecified number of government soldiers, Garowe Online reports.

The Islamist group said in a statement broadcast on Radio Andalus, the attackers exploded a car packed with explosives before storming the Bariire base, some 60km southwest of Somali capital, Mogadishu.

Reports said another suicide bomber drove his explosives-laden vehicle inside the outpost and went off as heavy exchange of gunfire between the militants and Somali government soldiers continued for minutes.

Al-Shabaab earlier has claimed to have overrun the army camp and then took over the full control of the town. The group said the fighters seized 11 vehicles, including 5 battle wagons during the dawn attack.

Residents, who spoke to GO over the phone said they heard heavy gunfire and explosions as the fighting ongoing around the military base, but, they could not verify the exact number of losses on both sides.

"The dawn raid started with a suicide bomber driving a car loaded with explosives into the entrance of the base, before dozens of militants armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades began their assault," said a resident, who asked anonymity.

Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab, the Al-Shabaab spokesman for the military operations claimed the militants had taken control of the area and the base killing “dozens”, of Somali soldiers trained by U.S.

Somalia's Ministry of Defense and military officials in the region did not yet comment on the attack in Bariire, a town recaptured by Somali and AU forces in August, 2017 from Al shabaab.

Bariire: a hot spot in the Lower Shabelle region 

Bariire has become a center of attacks in the Lower Shabelle region after Al shabaab militants were driven out of the town in August, 2017 by Somali government troops backed by AU and US forces.

Prior of its seizure, a U.S. Navy SEAL, 38-year-old Milliken of Falmouth was killed while fighting the al-Shabaab during undercover operation in last May 5.

In August after the area fell to the allied forces, at least ten people, including three young boys said to be local farmers were killed in a joint Somali-US raid on suspected farm outside Bariire.

Somali government paid compensation "blood money" for the families who lost their loved ones in the attack, after refusing to bury the dead bodies, and held rally in Mogadishu in protest of the killing.

Al shabaab intensified their attacks against government controlled towns in Southern Somalia, fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government which is propped up and protected by AMISOM.

GAROWEONLINE