At least 20 Al-Shabaab militants were killed and several others injured early on Sunday when the insurgents raided a military base on the outskirts of Somalia’s coastal city of Kismayo.
Brigadier-General Ismail Sahardid of the Somalia National Army (SNA) confirmed the attack at Buulo Guduud, some 30 km north of Kismayo at dawn which caused casualties on both sides, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Terrorists attacked our base in Buulo Guduud with suicide car bomb attacks, then fighting erupted causing casualties on both sides. We resisted the militants and killed 20 fighters during the operation, we are in control of the base now,” Sahardid said.
He did not provide the number of casualties on the SNA side and denied that the militants seized some vehicles.
Al-Shabaab militants claimed victory in the deadly attack at Buulo Guduud base, saying its fighters killed 25 soldiers, recovered three vehicles and took large amount of ammunition from SNA store there. It also said they captured Buulo Guduud.
Independent sources say that the casualties are more than told and 24 Jubaland State forces and government soldiers were hospitalized at the main general hospital in Kismayo town.
Witness said the military base is jointly operated by the the SNA and forces from the semi-autonomous Jubaland region of southern Somalia.
The militants have recently increased their attacks against the African Union and Somalia forces, especially in Mogadishu and southern Somalia, which has seen a surge of attacks that resulted in the loss of several strategic towns although the militants mainly held those towns briefly.
The AU and Somali forces have also increased airstrikes in southern Somalia in the recent past, resulting in the killing of several militants and some defections.