January 17, 2020
FILE – Al-Shabab’s flag is seen in this image distributed by the Somalia militant group, Jan. 5, 2020.
By Harun Maruf | VOA News
Six Somali government soldiers and 19 militants were killed when Islamist group al-Shabab attacked two bases before dawn Friday, according to officials and residents.
Local security officials and residents told VOA Somali that the attackers targeted a Somali government military base in Haji Ali village, near the Indian Ocean coastal town of Addale, in Middle Shabelle region.
Somali government forces at the base responded to the attack, sparking a deadly gun battle.
Local sources said five government soldiers were killed, including a military commander. The Somali National Army Headquarters, in a statement, put the death toll at four soldiers, with two others injured.
The statement said 15 al-Shabab militants were killed and 26 were injured.
Al-Shabab said its fighters overran the base and seized weapons and vehicles.
Separately, one government soldier and four militants were killed in another al-Shabab attack Friday in the town of Hosingow, Lower Juba region.
Residents told VOA that the militants briefly entered a Somali military camp near the town. Troops launched a counterattack and retook the base, killing four militants and a soldier, residents say.
Meanwhile, the U.S. military has confirmed killing two al-Shabab militants in an airstrike near the town of Kunyo Barrow in Lower Shabelle region on Thursday. It is the second U.S. airstrike in Somalia in 2020.
Last year, U.S. Africa Command conducted a record 63 strikes in Somalia.
Al-Shabab has conducted several high-profile attacks in recent weeks, including one on a Kenyan military base housing U.S. forces. The militants killed three Americans in the Jan. 5 attack.