Al-Shabab Attacks AU Base in Somali Capital – Voice of America
Somali militant group al-Shabab has attacked an African Union peacekeeping base in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
A spokesman for the AU mission, Ali Hamud, tells VOA that seven to 10 al-Shabab gunmen entered the compound Thursday.
He says two of the attackers detonated suicide bombs and three others were killed in a gunfight. He says two other gunmen were still inside the compound as of Thursday afternoon local time but were surrounded by troops.
The spokesman said there are casualties among the AU troops, but did not provide details.
Thursday’s attack targeted the Halane base, a fortified structure on the edge of the Mogadishu airport. The base is also home to a United Nations office and foreign embassies.
In a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, al-Shabab said it targeted a Christmas party at the base.
The U.N. representative to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, has condemned the attack.
Al-Shabab has suffered a string of military defeats at the hands of AU and Somali government forces, and controls only a fraction of the territory it did several years ago.
However, the al-Qaida-linked group still launches periodic raids and suicide attacks on AU and government targets. Al-Shabab fighters have killed several Somali lawmakers this year and mounted two major attacks on the Somali presidential palace.
Some material for this report came from Reuters, AFP and AP.