At least six Somali government soldiers and a cameraman were killed and 13 others were injured Wednesday when al-Shabab militants attacked a military base near the capital, officials say.
The officials say back-to-back vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) hit the base in the town of Awdhegle, 70 kilometers south of Mogadishu. Militants then attacked the base from two sides, exchanging gunfire with government forces before they were overpowered and pushed back.
Al-Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the attack, said it killed at least 50 government soldiers. Security sources told VOA Somali that government forces suffered six fatalities. The governor of Lower Shabelle region Ibrahim Adan Najah told VOA Somali that a cameraman working with the Somali National Army was also killed.
Najah said 23 militants were killed by the government forces.
Commander of Somali ground forces General Odawaa Yusuf Rageh, who was at the base at the time of the attack, told VOA that VBIEDs detonated before they could hit frontline forces.
“Our forces were ready to confront,” he said. “The attack ended in failure, both vehicles were foiled and were blown up before they reached the defenses.”
Awdhegle has changed hands between Somali forces and al-Shabab several times over the past three years. Somali troops recaptured Awdhegle from al-Shabab on August 6.