Death toll in AU military base attack in Somalia rises to 127

SOMALIA, Halgan — The death toll from Al Shabaab raid on African Union military base at Halgan village in central Somalia has risen to 127 people, including at least seven innocent civilians, residents and officials said.

Thursday’s dawn attack began with a huge explosion used by a car packed with explosives that was detonated at the army base’s gate, allowing heavily armed fighters, including bombers from Al Shabaab to enter the compound.

The militants have been driven away from the base after Ethiopian troops of AMISOM contingent fought off the attack and killed 120  fighters, while capturing small and heavy weapons from Al Shabaab, according to Somalia’s defense minister General Abdulkadir Sheikh Ali Dini.

Speaking at a press conference held in Mogadishu, the minister added that Al Shabaab has suffered huge losses in the botched attack on the Ethiopian troops’ base in Halgan, 350Kms north of Mogadishu.

“Al Shabaab attacks the army outpost from the four directions, but the Ethiopian troops, had information hours before the attack and were fully prepared to face the attacks in all consequences,” said Somali defense minister.

Meanwhile, Al Shabaab itself claimed victory in the base attack, saying its fighters destroyed the base with car bomb blast and killed at least 60 Ethiopian soldiers serving with the African Union mission in Somalia known as (AMSIOM).

In an audio statement broadcasted by  Radio Andalus, the mouthpiece of Al Shabaab Radio Channel said the militant group has lost 16 fighters in the deadly attack on AMISOM base in Halgan area.

AMISOM said in a Twitter post that Al Shabaab militants have incurred heavy casualties in the attempted Suicide and Gun attack in Halgan. 110 Al Shabaab fighters were killed including one white foreign fighter whose nationality remains unknown.

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