Al-Shabab militants have attacked another key town near the border with Kenya, continuing their recent escalation of attacks against government institutions.
Residents in El-Wak say Al-Shabab fighters entered the town after a brief gunfight with a small number of local security forces who then escaped across Somalia’s border with Kenya.
The militants have detonated explosives at the town’s police station, but casualties are not yet known.
Storage facility, aid agencies raided
One resident says the militants were patrolling in the neighborhoods early in the morning and he saw the heavy armed fighters through his window.
He said several battle wagons carrying militias were also present in the streets.
A second resident said Al-Shabab militants raided a storage facility owned by a local aid organization. The militants have loaded Plumpy’nut and other aid items onto a truck, he said.
Militants have raided the offices of two more local aid agencies seizing an ambulance and computers.
Residents say Al-Shabab militants then left the town on their own without a fight. One resident said one of the Al-Shabab commanders lectured the residents for over an hour.
Casualties are not yet known
El-Wak is on the border with Kenya and is a key transit point for Kenya military convoys carrying supplies to forces serving as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia known as AMISOM.
Early in the morning suspected Kenya military jet fighters flew over the town but did not drop any bombs, residents said. However Al-Shabab fighters fired what appeared to be Russian made Zu anti-aircraft guns, which are widely available in Somalia.
On Sept. 3, Al-Shabab fighters raided a Somali military camp in the town of Bulogudud, 30 kilometers north of Kismayo, killing seven soldiers. On Sept. 11, a similar attack was carried out on Beled Hawo town also near the border with Kenya killing 16 people including 14 soldiers.