At least 10 Somali government soldiers and 16 militants were killed Wednesday when Islamist group al-Shabab attacked two military bases in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region.
The first attack at Qoryooley town, about 95 km south of Mogadishu, started when the militants used an explosives-laden vehicle driven by a suicide bomber to target a military base run by local militia allied with the Somali federal government.“
Their aim was to destroy the town’s bridges. They have damaged one and we foiled their attempt on the other one. Then, dozens of heavily armed fighters attacked us,” said Abdi Ahmed Ali, Qoryooley deputy district commissioner.
According to multiple reliable sources in the town, at least 10 militants and six fighters belonging to the pro-government militia were killed during the battle.
Al-Shabab also launched a dawn attack on a military base at El Salini, 60 kilometers, southwest of Mogadishu.
Security officials said a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle containing explosives at the main gate of the base before gunmen stormed the premises.
Speaking to government-run radio, Colonel Hassan Mohamed Abuker, one of the commanders at the base, said four government soldiers and at least six militants were killed.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for both attacks in a statement released by its mouthpiece, Radio Andalus.
The statement read, “The militants briefly took the base at El Salini and seized a sizeable amount of weapons and ammunition from the government soldiers.” Government security officials neither confirmed nor denied the militants’ claim of briefly entering the camp.