Somalia Islamist militants killed at least 15 government forces in attacks on security bases about 30 kilometers (19 miles) outside the capital, Mogadishu, according to the police and state officials.
The assailants ambushed security posts manned by military and police personnel in Afgoi town overnight on Friday, firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, police officer Sharmarke Mohamed said by phone. “Our forces tried their best to repulse the attackers but they were overpowered by the militants,” Mohamed said in an interview.
Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based arm of al-Qaeda, is trying to overthrow the Western-backed government in Somalia and establish a strict version of Islamic law. It’s lost control of large chunks of territory to African Union troops over recent years. Still, the group carries out gun and grenade attacks both inside Somalia and across the border in countries like Kenya, which contributes troops to the AU peacekeeping force.
Somali security forces also killed as many as 30 militants in the fighting, said Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Siidi, governor of Lower Shabelle region where Afgoi is located.
Al-Shabaab, which has vowed to increase its attacks against the government during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan that began this week, claimed responsibility for the raid on its radio station, Radio Andalus.