Somalia: At Least 12 Killed in Latest Al-Shabaab Army Base Attack

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At least 12 people have been killed and 25 more injured in the latest army base attack carried out by Al-Shabaab in Somalia on Thursday.

Most of the dead are believed to belong to the Islamist militant group, which attempted to seize control of an army base on the outskirts of Baidoa. No official figures have been released to indicate how many government troops were killed or injured in the attack.

 

Plans for attacks on Baidoa

Seizing control of the army base on the edge of Baidoa territory would have put Al-Shabaab in a prime location to execute attacks in the city, which became capital of the Southwestern State of Somalia in 2014.

“Their aim was to take over the control of the army base so that they can carry out attacks in Baidoa,’’ one local official said.

Al-Shabaab forces have been largely forced out of the major cities in Somalia after African Union (AU) and UN peacekeeper troops joined the nation’s war on terror. Baidoa is not only the kind of high-profile city Al-Shabaab forces like to target, but also strategically placed near the border where the militant group enters Kenya to stage attacks on Somalia’s neighbour.

 

Growing number of attacks

Al-Shabaab attacks have spiked in the early days of 2016 with a string incidents targeting the Somali capital Mogadishu. On Thursday one civilian was killed in the capital city and another injured when mortars were fired by the Islamist group near the presidential palace.

This has followed a spate of attacks in the capital city with deaths occurring every day so far since the new year. An increase of attacks by Al-Shabaab militants has also occurred over the border in northern Kenya – which could signify a renewed effort by the group to reestablish power in eastern Africa.