Four civilians and one soldier were killed in the attack by the Shebab Islamists on a Somali army camp about 25 kilometers north of the capital Mogadishu, military sources and sources said Thursday. witnesses.
Dozens of heavily armed shebabs, witnesses said, hundreds according to a soldier, attacked Hilweyne camp on Wednesday evening, after dark, using at least four armed pick-ups. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab activists briefly took control of the camp before leaving it.
« We initially had to withdraw, » Ali Muhidin, one of Hilweyne’s soldiers, told AFP in a telephone interview.
A commander of a nearby base, Mohamed Salad, confirmed that after a « tactical retreat from the armed forces, the soldiers are back in the camp and the situation is under control ». « We lost a soldier in the fighting, but the terrorists also killed four civilians, including two women who ran small businesses near the camp. »
« There were intense shots fired, which continued for more than 30 minutes. Shebab fighters entered the base attacking from several directions using armed pickups, « witness Hussein Luqman told AFP.
Two women among the victims
« Two women who sold food and other supplies to camp soldiers are among the dead, » he said, while other witnesses said the shebab burned property in the camp , including two trucks.
The shebab claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that they had killed four soldiers before taking control of the base.
The Shebabs have sworn the loss of the Somali government, supported by the international community and the 20,000 men of the African Union force in Somalia (Amisom).
Driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, they then lost most of their strongholds. But they still control large rural areas from where they conduct guerrilla warfare and suicide bombings, including in the capital, against government, security or civilian objectives.