Mogadishu – The Islamist group al-Shabaab yesterday took a village in southern Somalia following an attack on a military base that killed at least 10 people, officials and witnesses said.
“Our troops retreated from the army base in Warmahan village in Lower Shebelle region after a heavy attack from . . . al-Shabaab,” local government spokesperson Mohamed Hussein Shine said.
He said four militants were killed, without giving a death toll for the army. Witness Mustafa Ismail said he saw at least six bodies of government soldiers.
Al-Shabaab said it had killed 15 soldiers. It also took equipment from the army, the group said on the pro-insurgent website somalimemo.net.
“We can now see al-Shabaab fighters controlling the village . . . There is really a frightening situation here this morning,” Ismail said.
Shine said government troops were regrouping to retake the village, located 55km south of the capital, Mogadishu.
“Our troops are not far from the area, and we are sending reinforcements to retake it from the terrorists,” said a military commander in Mogadishu, who asked not to be named.
The attack followed the deployment of up to 600 African Union soldiers in the southern port city of Kismayo on Sunday.
The Ethiopians came to back up Kenyan and Somali troops battling al-Shabaab in the region.
The AU has more than 20,000 troops in Somalia, where the government’s nearly decade-long fight against al-Shabaab has claimed thousands of lives. – AFP