NewsEast & Horn Africa110 Al Shabaab fighters killed in foiled Somalia attack

Sun,15Jul2018

Posted on Thursday, 09 June 2016 15:15

110 Al Shabaab fighters killed in foiled Somalia attack

By Fadhi Kudireff in Mogadishu, and Mark Anderson

File photo©Stuart Price/AP/SIPAThe African Union's peacekeeping force in Somalia said it repelled an attack by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab on Thursday, killing 110 of their fighters.

A car strapped with explosives was rammed into the gate of the Halgan military base, which is staffed by an Ethiopian contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom).

A large cache of weapons has been captured by Amisom and Somali National Army joint forces

"Al Shabaab incurred heavy casualties in the attempted attack in Halgan," Amisom said on Twitter. "One hundred and 10 al-Shabaab fighters were killed including one white foreign fighter."

The Ethiopian soldiers received aerial support from helicopters during the fighting, which took place 190 miles north of Mogadishu, according to reports from eyewitnesses. There were also reports that at least five civilians had been killed in the crossfire.

Amisom did not say how many of its soldiers were killed in the attack. Al-Shabaab said it had killed 60 peacekeepers and lost only 16 fighters.

"A large cache of weapons has been captured by Amisom and Somali National Army joint forces and the area is fully under control," Amisom said.

Al Shabaab claimed to have killed 100 Kenyan soldiers in January when it laid siege to Kenya's El Adde military base near the border between Kenya and Somalia.

While the politicians and elders jockey for power in Mogadishu, the country continues to suffer at the hands of the islamist militants of Al-Shabaab. In April President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told the Washington Post newspaper: "The Somali government cannot afford to pay the soldiers and at the same time to purchase lethal equipment."

In its last report the United nations' Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group accused senior army figures of pocketing most of the soldiers' pay. These unpaid national soldiers and a floundering african Union Mission in Somalia continue to weaken the security scenario in much of the country.

While the United states has ramped up its military support, and its assistance has seen pockets of success lately with targeted raids, the general consensus is that insecurity is well entrenched.

In a recent centre for security Governance paper, professor Ken Menkhaus explains how groups – from politicians and senior soldiers running private security firms to clan militias controlling communities – are benefiting immensely from an unstable somalia.

"The privileged relationship that these armed groups have with external patrons risks reinforcing their interests in perpetuating a weak state with a dysfunctional security sector," he writes. ● Ilya Gridneff

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