Somali security forces prevented a suicide attack against a political conference in central Somalia on Thursday, killing three gunmen and the driver of a car packed with explosives, Somali police told Reuters.
Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda offshoot that has long wrecked chaos the African nation’s security, claimed responsibility for the raid in Adado. They also said they attacked African peacekeepers and Somali troops in southern Somalia.
Al Shabaab tried to attack a conference hall where a meeting was being held on a new administration in the central region.
"A suicide car bomb rammed into the gate of the hall and three armed men stormed in but, fortunately, AMISOM troops killed them before they could enter," said Major Nur Ahmed, a police officer, referring to the African Union force AMISOM.
An AMISOM and Somali army offensive last year pushed Al Shabaab’s insurgency out of major strongholds, yet the group still controls some rural areas and conduct regular attacks in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, which also has forces with AMISOM.
Al Shabab claim they killed 15 African and Somali troops in the southern Gedo region. However army Captain Ibrahim Yusuf said 10 rebels were killed and only three soldiers died in the Gedo raid.
The two incidents show Al Shabab's ability to launch attacks even under international offensives, despite having lost territory and urban strongholds since last year. Al Shabab has in the past stepped up the number of raids during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Thursday.
"Operations will continue with or without Ramadan," Abu Musab, Al Shabab's spokesman for military operations, told Reuters. "However, it is more rewarding to operate in Ramadan."