Al-Shabab attacks AU peacekeeper mission base in Somalia
Foreign News

Al-Shabab attacks AU peacekeeper mission base in Somalia

Al-Shabab fighters have attacked a military base, housing Ugandan forces of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to East African country’s contingent and a Somali captain.

The rebels attacked the base belonging to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in Bulamarer, 130km (80 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu, on Friday.

“There was an attack this morning at our base … by elements of al-Shabab.

“But we are waiting for official communication from ATMIS headquarters,” said Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Deputy Spokesman, Deo Akiiki.

ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, was assessing the security situation, it said on Twitter, without providing details.

The mission has been assisting Somalia’s federal government in its war against the al-Qaeda-linked armed group since 2022 when it replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Meanwhile, al-Shabab has claimed in a statement that it carried out suicide bomb attacks, killing 137 soldiers.

There was no immediate official confirmation of casualties.

The group tends to give figures different from those issued by the authorities.

A Somali captain, who gave his name as Abdullahi, told Reuters news agency from the Lower Shabelle region that the rebels attacked an ATMIS base and an adjacent one belonging to the Somali military.

“That prompted a fierce battle for hours.

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“All groups, including al-Shabab, suffered heavy casualties,” he said, without giving further details.

Residents of the town said they woke up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons.

“Now we see al-Shabab in the town; we cannot know how many died.

“We are not hearing any shots from ATMIS and government now,” a resident, Rukia Farah, said.

Since 2006, the group has been fighting to topple the government.

It is also striving to establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Last August, an intensive government offensive began after the election victory of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

The government has also made significant gains in eroding the group’s control of vast swaths of land.

But al-Shabab is still capable of launching significant attacks on government, commercial and military targets.

It also intermittently launches attacks in neighbouring Kenya as part of reprisals for Nairobi sending troops to support Mogadishu’s rebel pushback. (Al-Jazeera)


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