MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab claimed killing more than 53 Somali soldiers in an attack on a military base in central Somalia.
Islamist fighters overran a base housing Somali government troops in the town of Ba’adwayn in Mudug region following an early-morning assault on Monday, seizing weapons and military vehicles.
Al-Shabaab says it killed 53 soldiers in the attack and following clashes, seizing six military vehicles, some of which mounted with ZU-23 anti-aircraft guns and other equipment.
Photos recently released by the group purport to show vehicles captured in the attack and bodies of dead soldiers lying inside Ba’adwayn base, home to hundreds of Somali army troops.
Mahad Salad, a Somali MP who comes from the region said more than 40 were killed in the militant attack, accusing regional leader of failing in his responsibilities amid surge in Al-Shabaab operations in the region.
Mr Salad noted that the group managed to surround Galmudug’s regional capital and endangers government officials’ security after region’s president Ahmed Qoorqoor had survived an assassination attempt when his plane was fired on during takeoff from the town of Dhusamareb, his administration’s capital city and power base.
Clashes between militants and troops continued through Monday afternoon near the town of Ba’adwayn after Islamist fighters ambushed reinforcement convoy from the town of Hobyo in Mudug region.
Somali military officers who spoke to Somaliguardian on Monday confirmed that militants managed to take control of Ba’adwayn base following a surprise attack and that troops were unable to parry it because the militants were “so many and heavily armed”.
Military officials speaking to army radio in Mogadishu on Tuesday said 9 militants were killed in the fighting and did not comment on the assertions made by Al-Shabaab.
The renewed clashes in Galmudug come weeks after regional authorities announced a joint Somali and African Union military operation to drive Al-Shabaab from key strongholds.
Journalists and residents in the regional capital say militants continue encroaching on Dhusamareb and set up roadblocks to cut off travels by officials between major cities of the region.
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