Shebab attack on African Union base in Somalia

Heavily armed radical Islamist Shebab militants attacked a military base of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia on Tuesday, causing casualties, a local military commander and witnesses said.
The attack, conducted before dawn, targeted a base housing Burundian Atmis soldiers near the village of Ceel Baraf, 160 km northeast of Mogadishu, the sources said.
“The terrorists attacked the Burundian army base near Ceel Baraf early this morning, there was heavy fighting and casualties on both sides but we don’t have more details so far,” local military commander Mohamed Ali declared. “They launched the attack with a car explosion before a heavy exchange of fire,” he added.
“Shebab gunmen attacked the base early in the morning, there were loud explosions and exchanges of automatic weapons. The Burundians left the base and entered the village of Ceel Baraf before helicopters came to provide air support,” said local resident Weliyow Maalim.
“The helicopters fired missiles and machine gun fire, we saw smoke rising over the base but we don’t know anything about the exact situation,” said another witness Ahmed Adan.
The al-Qaeda-linked Shebab, who have been waging an insurgency against the Somali state for more than a decade, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement. No comment was immediately available from the African Transitional Mission in Somalia (Atmis).
The force, which has nearly 20,000 military, police and civilian personnel from African countries, formally replaced the African peacekeeping force in Somalia (AMISOM) with a mandate extended in late March by the UN Security Council until the end of 2024 to stabilize the country against the Islamist Shebab insurgency.