Al-Shabaab's explosion kills four soldiers in Somalia

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Somali security forces and civilians walk to view the bodies of suspected al Shabaab fighters killed in a clash with security members at the mayor’s office [Feisal Omar/Reuters]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - Four members of the Somali National Army [SNA] were killed on Monday following a roadside explosion in Mogadishu, the Somalia capital, authorities confirmed, in an attack which comes at the time the country has heightened the fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

The explosion went off in Daynile District of Mogadishu, the Ministry of Defence confirmed. This is the first major explosion in the capital in as many months which has been relatively safe following the deployment of Uganda-trained soldiers who were dispatched to the capital recently.

Brigadier General Abdullahi Ali Anod, the ministry's spokesperson, said that the attack occurred at about 9 a.m. and that three soldiers and an officer with the construction unit had been killed. He affirmed that security is tight in Mogadishu despite the unfortunate explosion.

Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack but did not reveal the immediate target. Since the government launched an offensive against Al-Shabaab, the number of explosions through Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs] has significantly reduced, he added.

"We are not saying the explosions stopped, but we are saying they weakened," Anod said. He added that the government had been expecting a rise in attacks during the month of Ramadan, but that did not happen.

"The enemy is wounded, but they can still fire bullets," he said.

The US Africa Command confirmed on Monday that it had targeted Jilib town, the headquarters of Al-Shabaab but did not give further details. This comes a few hours after the group released a video purportedly of their leader Abu Ubaidah, whose whereabouts remain unknown.

A joint report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said 109 IED attacks from January 2020 to December 2021 killed 309 civilians and injured 556 others.

Somalia is set to start the second phase of operations against Al-Shabaab in the coming weeks, with Mogadishu already asking for assistance from neighboring countries. Already, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti have pledged to initiate the fight against Al-Shabaab with non-ATMIS troops as a show of solidarity with the country.

GAROWE ONLINE

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