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Al-Shabaab attack kills two in central Somalia

Thursday October 20, 2022

Al-shabab militants in Mogadishu, Somalia in 2012.Photographer: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP via Getty Images 

A suicide attack by the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab killed two people including a soldier in central Somalia on Wednesday, a local military official told AFP.

A vehicle laden with weapons ploughed into a military checkpoint in the Hiran region in a "kamikaze" attack, said army official Abdirahman Osobow.

Osobow said two people including a soldier died in an "enormous" explosion and blamed Al-Shabaab, a group linked with Al-Qaeda that has waged an insurgency against the Somali state for 15 years.

The attack "could have done more damage, but the security forces managed to contain it before it reached its main target", he added.

Despite being ousted from Somalia's major cities, including the capital Mogadishu in 2011, Al-Shabaab controls swathes of the countryside and civilians are often caught in the crossfire.

Among the group's string of recent attacks was a siege of a Mogadishu hotel in September that lasted 30 hours and led to the deaths of 21 people, with another 17 wounded.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has faced a sharp increase in Al-Shabaab activity since his election in May and has promised to wage an "all-our war" against them.

The Somali government earlier this month announced that Abdullahi Yare, a key Al-Shabaab leader with a $3-million bounty on his head, had been killed in an air strike led by the army and international security partners.

After Mohamud's election, President Joe Biden said he would restore a US military presence in Somalia to fight Al-Shabaab.

The Pentagon had recommended the move, considering the rotation system of Biden's predecessor Donald Trump as too risky and ineffective.


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