Al Shabab seize new village in Somalia

Al Shabab expel African troops from yet another village in Somalia, expanding their control despite joint military intervention

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Jubaland forces walk near the site of a suicide car bomb attack near a military training base south of capital Mogadishu August 22, 2015.

Al Qaeda affiliated Al Shabab militant group seized two Somalian army bases on Friday and killed at least seven African Union troops, thus expanding their growing control, the group and an official said on Thursday.

The attacked bases were in the town of Yaqbariweyne in the Lower Shabelle region and the seized town is of Janale.

Somali government dismissed the gains made by the militant group, saying the seized areas are not “strategic”.

Janale is about 90 km (55 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu. At least three other towns fell to Al Shabab’s grasp in southern and central Somalia.

"This is a great shame and it will be difficult for the residents to trust the Somali government and the AU troops," said Ali Nur, the acting governor of Lower Shabelle region.

"We ask the government and AMISOM [African Union Mission to Somalia] to send their troops as soon as possible."

The AMISOM force along with the Somalian army has previously pushed Al Shabab out of major strategic centres and into smaller pockets of territory in rural areas.

On the other hand, Al Shabab's military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters that Janale was retaken when the African troops left.

"Now it is fully under our control," he said.

"We took the two Yaqbariweyne military bases in a fierce fighting this morning," Abu Musab also told Reuters that thirteen soldiers were killed.

12 Uganda soldiers died this month when the insurgency attacked an African Union forces airbase in Janale area.

Ugandan army soldiers carry the caskets containing the remains of Ugandan soldiers who were killed in Somalia this week at a military airbase in Entebbe, September 3, 2015.

Al Shabab and the Somali government put the casualties at different numbers.

Osman Abdullahi, a military officer said seven soldiers were killed and five others wounded. "The soldiers defended themselves and now they are fighting Al Shabab in the outskirts of the town," Abdullahi told Reuters.

Locals at Yaqbariweyne told Reuters they saw six dead soldiers and the town is now calm.

Al Shabab’s recent rapid advancements show the group’s ability to pressure the Somalian government it aims to topple, using military force, and the widespread of suicide and car bombing.

TRTWorld and agencies