Somalia: Troops foil Al-Shabaab attack targeting Dhobley army base
KISMAYO, Somalia - A fierce gunfight ensued between Al-Shabaab militants and Jubaland regional forces on Sunday night, reports indicate, in the second attempted raid within a week targeting the military in Jubaland state.
The militants besieged Jubaland military training camp within the outskirts of a rather severe Dhobley town, which falls under Sector II of African Union Mission in Somalia, which is primarily guarded by the Kenyan Defense Forces.
For several hours, the regional forces opened gunfire forcing the militants to retreat to nearby thickets, with reports also suggesting that the Al-Qaida linked militants suffered heavy casualties besides losing sophisticated weapons.
Mohamed Abdullahi Korey, the Jubaland Security Forces deputy commander, said the militants were subdued by the regional forces, adding that there were no casualties on their side. Two Al-Shabaab militants were killed during the fight, he added.
“Two Al-Shabab militants were killed during the fighting. We also have dozens of the militants who suffered extreme injuries. We also destroyed their sophisticated weapons, good progress so far in our favor," he noted.
Dhobley town was among the first to be liberated from the militants by elite KDF forces in 2011, during the famous onslaught dubbed Operation Linda Nchi. The KDF troops have since been working with local authorities to establish a functional regional government.
In 2013, former Ras Kamboni Brigade commander Ahmed Madobe was elected president of Jubaland, a position he has held to date despite his deteriorating relationship with federal leader Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
More often than not, the Jubaland forces which receive professional training from the KDF have engaged the militants in the outskirts of the towns which were liberated, including even in the fragile Gedo region.
Last week, a group of about 20 Al-Shabaab militants also tried to ambush Jubaland forces in Bilis Qooqani, but their attempts were thwarted by KDF troops manning the town, in yet another victory against the militants.
"Three Al-Shabaab militants were killed and several wounded during the attack which was successfully repulsed," said Brigadier Paul Njema, the Force Commander AMISOM Sector II. It was the first major attack within a territory of AMISOM within Jubaland.
During the fight, AK 47 rifles were recovered from the militants and several rounds of ammunition, the AMISOM forces said, adding that the Al-Shabaab were "completely neutralized" after the raid.
Two Jubaland forces injured during the ensuing battle were transferred to AMISOM Forward Operating Base in Bilis Qooqani for treatment, added the statement, without disclosing the level of injuries inflicted against the troops, who work closely with the KDF.
Ambassador Francisco Madeira, the head of the mission, hailed the KDF troops for their "quick" response to the distress call, adding that "this is a remarkable victory against the enemy of the people of Somalia".
"We are thankful to the KDF troops in Bilis Qooqani for their professionalism, bravery, and courage. Their presence in the region is very vital as manifested in the latest heroic acts," the Mozambique national said in a statement.
Despite securing most villages from Al-Shabaab, the Jubaland forces and AU troops are yet to flash the militants from most parts of Middle and Lower Jubba, which are used for recruitment and training of the militants.
In April, the KDF team handed over a fully furnished Forward Operating Base to Somali National Army [SNA] in Dhobley. However, the relationship between SNA and Jubaland forces still remain fluid due to unending squabbles between Farmajo and Madobe.