UPDATE WITH STATEMENT FROM US AMBASSADOR
By Magdalene Mukami and Mohammed Dhaysane
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - Al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab militants on Monday stormed the Ballidogle American special forces military base roughly 100 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu using vehicle bombs followed by sporadic gunfire from fighters, according to Somalia's state media.
The attack was fast thwarted by the U.S. forces and the Somali National Army (SNA) troops stationed at the base, it said.
"Today al-Shabaab terrorists conducted a failed attack against SNA base in Lower Shabelle region 70 miles [113 kilometers] North West of Mogadishu," said the state media, and added: "Although al-Shabaab expended many resources while carrying out this attack, it was ultimately unsuccessful due to the vigilance and quick action of SNA".
"Soldiers stationed at the military base were able to avoid any injury," and successfully repel the attack in less than 10 minutes," said Somali National Television.
The exchange resulted in multiple al-Shabaab fighters losing their life," it added.
The militants used two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices stashed in trucks, a senior military official from Lower Shabelle region told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity.
Following the attack, al-Shabaab released a statement claiming responsibility of the attack by its elite martyrdom forces.
The militant group claimed it had killed 100 soldiers and destroyed 5 military aircraft at the US military base which is the largest in the Horn of Africa country.
- Separate attack on EU troops
In a separate incident, al-Shabaab militants carried out an attack near Jaalle Siyad academy in Mogadishu’s Hodan district targeting an EU convoy ferrying military trainers working with the Somali security forces, said a police officer.
Mohamed Bulle, a police sergeant in Mogadishu, told Anadolu Agency over the phone that a roadside bomb was used to target the foreign convoy in Mogadishu’s Hodan district on Monday.
"The attack was a Landmine blast which targeted a foreign convoy and I can confirm that at least three people were wounded in the attack," Bulle said adding that one person was killed.
In October 2018, the militants attacked an EU convoy belonging to Italian soldiers killing 2 people.
The Somali militant group has carried out numerous attacks in East Africa in retaliation of foreign military activities seeking to stabilize Somalia.
In January 2019, the militants attacked the DusitD2 hotel complex in Nairobi, Kenya killing more than 20 people. Previously attacks have also taken place against a shopping mall in the country, killing 67, as well as Garissa University in Northern Kenya which led to the deaths of more than 140 students.
In a statement, Donald Yukio Yamamoto, the US ambassador to Somalia, condemned the Monday attacks in Baledogle and Mogadishu.
“We commend the Somali security forces who repelled the attack against the Somali National Army (SNA) Base in Baledogle, Lower Shabelle region. The security forces stopped this ultimately failed attack due to their alertness and swift response, not allowing the attackers to breach the outer defensive perimeters of the base,” the statement said.
Contrary to al-Shabaab claims that it had killed over 100 soldiers, Yamamoto noted that there were no casualties.
The statement said the attack demonstrates al-Shabaab violently opposes progress towards peace and prosperity in Somalia.