AU troops retake base after deadly militants attack
Having withdrawn under the hail of gunfight by attacking militants, African Union forces have recaptured the control of their base in Janale town few hours after the Al-qaeda linked militants in Somalia have staged a ‘massive’ attack which resulted in the deaths of ‘scores’ of soldiers on Tuesday.
The attack which started with a suicide car bomb has seen hundreds of Al-Shabab fighters stormed the base which housed Ugandan soldiers. Militants have bombed the town’s bridge prior to attack which Al-Shabab claimed to have killed 50 soldiers.
“Most of those soldiers in the camp were killed, others swam into the river while others escaped into the bush.” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abumusab, Al-shabab military spokesman.
Witnesses in Janale told that they have seen masked militants taking positions around the military barracks after the attack.
Al-shabab says the attack was carried out in retaliation of recent wedding ‘massacre’ in Marka town by AU forces who were accused by rights group of arbitrary killings against civilians.
The attack comes as allied forces have launched a multi pronged offensive against militants who often withdraw without putting much resistance against troops; however, the group which analysts say largely concentrates on guerilla attacks continues attacks against Somali government and African Union forces.
It’s the second time al-Shabab fighters have overrun an AU base this year. In June, heavily fighters have stormed an AU military base in Lego village, killing dozens of soldiers and looted the base.
Despite an initial denial that militants overrun the base, the African Union said in a statement on Tuesday evening that troops undertook a ‘tactical’ withdrawal following the initial vehicle borne explosive attack; however, the army has since consolidated and regained full control of the base, the statement said.
There was no official comment from the AU on the casualties on their troops.
The attack is yet another sign that despite losing key strongholds, al-Shabab remains a potent threat to the horn of Africa nation.
Somalia’s prime minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke has condemned the attack, affirming his government’s commitment to wipe out “wipe out” the remaining small terrorist group in Somalia.
The United Nations special envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay has also condemned the attack, praising ‘courageous’ peacekeepers who he said sacrificed their lives in the ongoing efforts to bring lasting peace and security to Somalia.
“The United Nations remains resolute in our support for the Somali people. Our solidarity with the African Union Mission in Somalia and Somali security forces in their efforts to defeat Al-Shabaab and build peace and stability will not waver.”