In Summary
  • The attack in Awdheegle, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, also killed a Somali reporter embedded with the army, a journalist federation said.
  • General Yusuf Rageh, commander of the Somali infantry regiments, said the assailants struck with vehicle bombs before gunmen surged forward.
  • Somali security forces and troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had only retaken Awdheegle, in the Lower Shabelle district, from the Al-Qaeda-linked militants last week.

MOGADISHU,

An army base in southern Somalia was struck by car bombs and gunfire on Wednesday, a military official and witnesses said, in an attack claimed by the Al-Shabaab militant group.

The attack in Awdheegle, about 70 kilometres (43 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, also killed a Somali reporter embedded with the army, a journalist federation said.

General Yusuf Rageh, commander of the Somali infantry regiments, said the assailants struck with vehicle bombs before gunmen surged forward.

"After the blasts they tried to attack the army defences but were defeated. We are still pursuing them. Some soldiers sustained minor injuries from blast shrapnel but nothing major," he told reporters in Awdheegle.

Al-Shabaab, a jihadist group that controls swathes of Somali countryside, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying they launched two car bombs and "killed many soldiers".

It is not unusual for the government and the Shabaab to offer differing accounts of casualties from attacks.

RECENT TAKEOVER

Somali security forces and troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had only retaken Awdheegle, in the Lower Shabelle district, from the Al-Qaeda-linked militants last week.

Witnesses in Awdheegle they heard blasts and heavy gunfire.

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