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Suicide blast hits Somali base outside capital

Saturday, June 16, 2012

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - An al Shabaab suicide bomber rammed a vehicle packed with explosives into the gate of a government base in Afgoye outside the Somali capital on Saturday causing casualties, the police and rebels said.

Al Shabaab said its suicide bomber had "killed dozens" while the police said the blast had only wounded three soldiers.

The figures could not be independently verified. Many parties in the Somalia conflict tend to exaggerate enemy losses and minimise their own.

Government and African Union troops seized Afgoye from al Shabaab rebels at the end of May. The town is about 30 km (19 miles) from Mogadishu on a key road that links the capital with rebel-held regions in the south of country.

"The suicide car bomb tried to follow our vehicles entering the base. But it could not. It exploded at the gate. So far only three of our soldiers are injured," Colonel Nur Hayr, a police officer, told Reuters.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

"Our fighter managed to enter with his car bomb inside government forces base in Afgoye. We killed dozens," said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for al Shabaab's military operations.

"The car was heavily laden with explosives. It is a great victory for al Shabaab," he said.

Since al Shabaab withdrew from the capital last August, it has increasingly turned to suicide bombers and grenade attacks to target government and African Union positions. (Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Editing by David Clarke and Sophie Hares).
Source: Reuters



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