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Two dead, 18 wounded in al-Shabaab offensive in Somalia

Two dead, 18 wounded in al-Shabaab offensive in Somalia


Two civilians were killed and 18 wounded on Friday night when mortar shells were fired by suspected al-Shabaab militants in Somalia near the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) base.

The governor of the Bay region in southwest Somalia, Abdirashid Abdullahi, told AFP that nine rounds were fired shortly after midnight affecting several areas of the city of Baidoa, capital of the Bay region located 250 kilometers northwest of Mogadishu.

“Al-Shabaab militants fired mortar shells last night. There were twenty victims, two of whom were killed and 18 were hospitalized,” the governor said, adding that five of the injured are suffering from minor injuries.

However, al-Shabaab has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Witnesses told AFP that most of the shells landed in areas near the airport of the city, where most of the Ethiopian soldiers of AMISOM are based.

Nothing indicated on Saturday that the base was hit.

“There were several explosions near the airport, but most landed on houses occupied by civilians,” Musdhaf Mumin, a resident of the area said.

AMISOM bases have been a regular target of the al-Shabaab militant group which seeks to to topple the Western-backed government.

In January, the al Shabaab militia launched an early morning attack on an AMISOM base in the town of El-Adde, near the Ethiopian border. More than 100 Kenyan soldiers were killed in the dawn attacked,according to a statement released by the militia.

The 22,000 AU-backed AMISOM force has been in Somalia since 2007 and helped drive out al Shabaab from the capital Mogadishu in August 2011. Al Shabaab is still in control of vast rural areas and momentarily conduct attacks on the capital.