Al-Shabaab claims attack on AU military camp in Somalia
Resident says at least three people were killed in early morning attack by Islamist militant group
Mogadishu — Somalia’s Al-Shabaab group attacked an AU mission military camp in the Shabelle region in the centre of the country, a local elder and the group said on Tuesday, and another resident said three civilians had died in the crossfire.
The resident, who lives in a village near the scene, later said he saw two helicopters flying by and gunfire coming from them.
“We were awoken by huge blasts early in the morning. The blasts were at the AU mission base. Heavy exchange of gunfire followed,” local elder Mohamed Nur told Reuters by phone from El Baraf, about 130km to the north of the capital Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab, which has been fighting for years to topple the central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law, claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The mujahideen launched a predawn raid on an Atmis (AU mission) military base in El Baraf, middle Shabelle region,” Al-Shabaab said in a statement.
“After a fierce firefight, the mujahideen managed to overrun the base and are now in complete control of the entire military base.”
Farah Hussein, a shopkeeper, said from El Baraf that after the initial attack, helicopters were seen flying above the scene.
“The Atmis forces are also in the jungles pursuing the Al-Shabaab fighters. So far we know three civilians died and five others were injured in the fighting.”
Officials in Shabelle and the AU mission were not immediately available to comment on the attack.
Al-Shabaab frequently carries out bombings and gun attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere as part of its war against the Horn of Africa country’s central government.
It also attacks soldiers working for the AU peacekeeping mission.
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