NAIROBI, Kenya – Three Somali military officers were killed and two others injured in a bomb attack in southern Somalia on Monday, along with an American soldier. This is the latest example of a deadly uprising that has continued to wreak havoc on the Horn of Africa Nation.
Officials in Jubaland state said a pickup truck loaded with explosives exploded around 8 a.m. at a military outpost in the Jana Abdalle region of the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia. The attack came just days after Somali forces, with the support of American military personnel, recaptured the area from the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab.
Authorities said the area, about 60 km from the port city of Kismayo, has been used by the group as a hub to raise funds by taxing and blackmailing civilians who move around the area.
In recent years, the Shabab, a branch of the Al Qaeda terrorist network attempting to overthrow Somalia’s western-backed government, have lost many of the towns and villages they once controlled. Despite a record number of Drone attacksthe group has transformed in a more nimble and deadly outfit, massive attacks against civilians and military targets in Somalia and neighboring countries.
No group has yet taken responsibility for Monday’s attack, but pro-Shabab media reported that the extremist group carried it out.
“We expected such attacks after their defeat,” said Mohamed Ahmed Sabrie, communications director in the office of the regional president of Jubaland, in a telephone interview. “But nothing will stop us from freeing more areas of the Shabab and ensuring the safety of our people. We’ll do everything we can. “
Mr Sabrie said the wounded were flown to Kismayo for treatment.
United States Africa Command’s director of public affairs, Col. Chris Karns, said in a statement that US forces are supporting Somali forces to curb the range and movement of Shabab militants.
The wounded service member is “in stable condition and being treated for injuries that are not classified as life-threatening.” At least one Shabab fighter was killed during the attack, the US Africa command said.
Recent attacks by the Shabab include an attack last month around a popular hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu11 people died and 18 others were injured. This attack came just days after 19 guards and inmates were killed after members of the riot tried to escape from Mogadishu Central Prison.
In June the Shabab attacked a Turkish military base in Mogadishu and in January the group killed three Americans after targeting a Kenyan military base used as an outstation by American forces. In late December the group was accused of detonating a truck loaded with explosives that killed 82 people, including 16 students.
To weaken the Shabab’s presence, Somali forces are working with forces from the African Union peacekeeping operations, which include forces from Kenya, Djibouti, Burundi, Uganda and Ethiopia. There are also around 650 to 700 US troops in Somalia, most of them special forces, fighting the Shabab alongside local troops from small outposts.
Hussein Mohamed reported from Mogadishu, Somalia.