Al Shabaab militants storm Somalia army base, 13 killed

The Al Qaeda-linked Islamic insurgents of Al Shabaab have stormed a major Somali military base in El Wak located on Somalia’s border with Kenya, Witnesses and Officials said on Wednesday.

Col. Ahmed Abdulle, a senior Somali National Army (SNA) commander in the town said the army foiled the attack, but confirmed losing three Soldiers on their side in the counter-offensive fire.

However, Al Shabaab militants claimed victory over the Somali army base, saying they had killed at least 10 government soldiers, recovered firearms and taken several battle-wagons.

The government army commander has disputed Al Shabaab’s claim, saying that they had in fact fought off the assault in El Wak in the Gedo region, south west of the Horn of Africa.

“The armed Al Shabaab militants decided to leave the area after facing a defeat and irretrievable losses from the SNA soldiers at the base,”  Abdulle added.

Local residents in nearby villages said hundreds of Al Shabaab fighters stormed the SNA base and there was very heavy fighting last lasted nearly two hours.  After the attack, six bodies were seen outside the army base.

Reports from El Wak suggest that the militants encountered stiff resistance from the Somali troops at the raided base. The Al Shabaab fighters have later retreated back to their hideouts following attack.

The group often carries out cross-border attacks in border towns and Kenya’s north-eastern region.

The Somalia-based Al Shabaab has been at war with Kenya ever since Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) entered in Somalia in October 2011, in an effort to crush the militants who kidnapped foreign aid workers at Dadaab refugee camps.

Omar Nor

A senior reporter in-the-field covering the vast East Africa region, focusing on  political issues including scenarios of conflict. Follow Omar on Twitter at @Omaar_nor