Somalia: Al Shabab says responsible for African Union camp attack that killed ‘dozens’

Women walk past a destroyed house and the wreckage of a car after an explosion set off by Al Shabab militants in Mogadishu, Somalia, in February. AFP

Al Shabab frequently carries out bombings and gun attacks in Mogadishu in its war against the central government

Somalia’s Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a camp for African Union peacekeeping troops in the country on Tuesday, which killed and injured “dozens” of people.

The camp is situated in the Shabelle region, in the centre of the country.

Al Shabab frequently carries out bombings and gun attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere as part of its war against the Horn of Africa country’s central government.

It also aims at soldiers working for the African Union peacekeeping mission.

“We were awoken by huge blasts early in the morning,” local elder Mohamed Nur told Reuters by phone from El Baraf, about 130 kilometres north of the capital Mogadishu. “The blasts were at the African Union mission base. Heavy exchange of gunfire followed.”

Al Shabab has been fighting for years to topple the central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Sharia.

“The Mujahideen launched a pre-dawn raid on an ATMIS [African Union Mission] military base in El-Baraf, middle Shabelle region,” Al Shabab said.

“After a fierce firefight, the Mujahideen managed to overrun the base and are now in complete control of the entire military base.”

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