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AFP
October 1, 2019

EU convoy hit in Mogadishu: Al-Shabaab attacks US base in Somalia

World

AFP
October 1, 2019

MOGADISHU: The Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for an attack on a US base in Somalia on Monday, as the European Union confirmed a separate strike against a convoy of Italian advisers.

The militants struck the US base at Baledogle, about 110-km northwest of the capital Mogadishu, with explosives before gunmen opened fire on the compound. In a statement, Al-Shabaab said: "In the early hours of Monday morning, an elite unit of soldiers... launched a daring raid on the US military base".

"After breaching the perimetres of the heavily fortified base, the Mujahideen (holy fighters) stormed the military complex, engaging the crusaders in an intense firefight." The US Mission to Somalia denied Al-Shabaab fighters penetrated the camp defences, saying Somali security forces repelled the attack.

"The security forces stopped this ultimately failed attack due to their alertness and swift response, not allowing the attackers to breach the outer defensive perimeters of the base," the mission said in a statement.

"We are thankful that there were no SNA (Somali National Army) casualties between the multiple attacks." Baledogle is a major launching site for US drone operations against Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked group which controls large parts of Somalia, and the Islamic State in Somalia outfit.

"Two heavy explosions occurred, the first one bigger than the other. There was also a heavy exchange of gunfire after the blasts but we don´t know about the details," Mohamed Adan, a Somali elder close to the scene of the attack, told AFP by phone.

In a separate incident on Monday, a security official said EU advisers training the Somali National Army were also attacked by a car bomb in Mogadishu. "There was a car bomb targeting the EU military advisers along the industrial road. A vehicle loaded with explosives was rammed into one of the convoy vehicles," said Omar Abikar, a Somali security officer. A statement from the EU Training Mission in Somalia confirmed the convoy had been "hit by an explosion" while returning from the army headquarters.

"No EUTM-S soldiers were injured in the explosion. Two vehicles sustained damage," read the statement. The mission offers military advice and provides training to Somalia´s army, currently still propped up by some 20,000 African peacekeepers as the country recovers from decades of civil war and an Islamist insurgency.

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