Al-Shabaab assault on Somali forces leaves over 60 dead, equipment destroyed – sources

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MOGADISHU (KAAB TV) – Somali government forces and local fighters suffered a devastating attack by militants on Saturday in central Somalia region of Galgaduud, with the death toll now reported to exceed 60, according to various sources.

The assault, which took place just before dawn, saw Al-Shabaab militants penetrate four camps—three within Ceeldheer town and a fourth on its outskirts.

Survivors recount that the militants launched suicide explosions before storming the bases, indiscriminately firing at soldiers.

The targeted bases were manned by units trained by Turkey, Egypt, and Eritrea, as well as local clan militia known as Ma’awisley. Some of these units had only been deployed in April of this year.

According to survivors, approximately 200 Al-Shabaab militants were involved in the attack, while the combined number of troops and militia in the area exceeded 1,000. However, the explosions caused significant casualties, killing many soldiers and destroying their fortifications.

“We were sleeping when the huge explosions ripped off. Those who survived fled the camp,” said one soldier who survived and requested anonymity.

There are conflicting reports on the exact number of casualties. Al-Shabaab issued a statement claiming to have killed at least 59 soldiers, while the Somali Ministry of Information countered with a claim that 47 Al-Shabaab militants were killed following reinforcements sent to the area after the initial attack.

Survivors report that the militants looted food rations, weapons, and ammunition during the attack.
Survivors report that the militants looted food rations, weapons, and ammunition during the attack.

Survivors and local residents corroborate that the loss of life and injuries are substantial.

Lieutenant Abukar Mohamed Hassan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense, highlighted the critical role of reinforcements from Masagaway in the ensuing battle.

Al-Shabaab has also released photos showing dead soldiers and militants torching military vehicles, including armored ones.

Survivors report that the militants looted food rations, weapons, and ammunition during the attack.

Among the dead are three officers from the Turkey-trained units. Several soldiers are still missing, with some family members alleging that they were captured alive by Al-Shabaab. The Ministry of Defense is reportedly still trying to locate these missing soldiers.

The assault, which took place just before dawn, saw Al-Shabaab militants penetrate four camps—three within a rural town and a fourth on its outskirts.
The assault, which took place just before dawn, saw Al-Shabaab militants penetrate four camps—three within a rural town and a fourth on its outskirts.

Military sources revealed that intelligence reports had predicted the attack days in advance. Officers in Masagawa and Ceeldheer told our reporter that they were uncertain about how to defend against it and had requested assistance from Mogadishu, which was not forthcoming.

As Al-Shabaab’s attacks on government bases increase, resulting in significant casualties, there appears to be no effective strategy in place to prevent such assaults. The ongoing threat poses a severe challenge to the Somali government’s efforts to maintain security and stability in the region.

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