Al-Shabab launches deadly attack on Somali military base

Balad (Caasimada Online) – Al-Shabab militant group launched a devastating attack on a Somali military base in Middle Shabelle region on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of several government forces. 

The early morning assault, which took place in the village of Hawadley, near Bal’ad district, began with a series of car bombings followed by a gunfight between the militants and the military personnel stationed at the base.

There were differing accounts of the number of casualties from the attack on a military camp in Hawadley.

The army chief Gen, Odowaa Yusuf Rage, reported that five soldiers, including a high-ranking officer, had died, while a local militia commander said the death toll was 11.

Reports say that Colonel Abshir Mohamud Mohamed, also known as Shaqatey, the commander of the Somali National Army’s 27th Division of 3rd Battalion, was among the casualties of the attack.

The Islamist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which involved a car bomb exploding outside the camp and gunmen entering the compound.

The base had recently been retaken by the Somali National Army and allied militia in a campaign against the Islamist militants.

The village of Hawadley, located approximately 20 kilometers from Bal’ad district, remains tense, with Al-Shabab claiming control of the army base and seizing weapons and military vehicles.

This attack comes just days after Al-Shabaab carried out a similar assault in the Halgan district of the Hiiraan region, resulting in the deaths of several government forces, including the CID chief of the Beledweyne Police Station, Jamal Ahmed Jama. Additionally, two members of local anti-Shabab clan militia forces were wounded in the attack.

Security officials report that the militia had opened fire on the suicide car bomber from a safe distance, forcing the individual to detonate the device prematurely before reaching the government security forces headquarters.

In recent months, the government and allied clan militias have made significant strides in pushing back against Al-Shabaab, successfully retaking large swathes of territory in central Somalia. However, experts warn that the group has a history of adapting to military pressure and has not yet been defeated.

Despite the recent successes against Al-Shabab, the group continues to carry out deadly attacks and bombings. 

In Bulobarde and Jalalaqsi towns, they killed 13 people and injured over 50 others on Saturday. On January 4th, two explosions from vehicle-borne explosive devices in Mahaas town resulted in the deaths of over 20 people, the majority of them being civilians.