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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Al-Shabaab captures African Union base in Southern Somalia

by Hashi MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somalia militant group Al-Shabaab on Friday captured an African Union peacekeeping mission base in Lego town in lower Shabelle region in the south of the country after Burundian contingent withdrew early in the morning, officials said.

A Somali military official who declined to be named confirmed to Xinhua that the AU’s Lego base is now under Al-Shabaab militants while Burundian troops and Somalia National Army (SNA) vacated from the base.

"African Union peacekeeping troops from Burundian emptied their biggest military base today, I cannot tell the reason but I can confirm their withdrawal from Lego base in lower Shabelle region," the official said.

Heavily armed Al-Shabaab militants immediately moved in Lego town after the troops’ withdrawal, according to eyewitnesses.

Al-Shabaab militants celebrated the withdrawal of the AU troops from Lego base in Lower Shabelle as a great victory to their fighters.

Dozens of AMISOM Burundian contingent were killed in June 2015 after Al-Shabaab fighters raided their base in Lego. The group claimed they killed over 50 soldiers there.

The group has carried out deadliest attacks at African Union peacekeeping troops in Lego and Janale in Lower Shabelle region, El-Adde in Gedo region and Kulbiyow base in Lower Jubba region in southern Somalia in the past three years.
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UPDATE:

At least three killed, several injured in car bombing in Mogadishu

by Hashi and Abdi MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- At least three people were killed and scores injured in a car bomb explosion in the restive Somali capital city Mogadishu on Friday, a government official said.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Security, Ahmed Mohamed Mohmud, said the blast took place near Ambassador Hotel along Maka Almukarama road in Mogadishu which was the scene of a deadly attack that claimed ten lives barely a week ago.

"It’s too early to comment on the number of casualties as of now but several people have been wounded," Mohmud said.

Police officer Mohamid Ali confirmed to Xinhua the explosion which went off at around 7 p.m. local time.

"So far three people have died and six others injured. Security forces are already combing the area for details," Ali said.

Security forces could be seen along the streets of the city as they stopped vehicles for search.

A witness said the explosion was so heavy and could be felt from his home.

"The explosion was deafening and so huge. My house was shaking and we learnt it was away in Tree Biyano area," Shire Nur said.

The scene has been cordoned off by security forces as ambulances rush the injured to hospitals.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosions happened after both Somalia and the U.S. forces killed a senior Al-Shabaab terrorist during a drone attack on July 30.
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EARLIER REPORT:

United States confirms senior Al-Shabaab commander killed in airstrikes

MOGADISHU Somalia, (Xinhua) -- The United States on Friday confirmed that Al-Shabaab senior terrorist Ali Mohamed Hussein alias Ali Jabal was killed in drone strikes by American and Somalia security forces in southern region on July 31.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the United States conducted this operation in coordination with its regional partners as a direct response to Al-Shabaab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces.

"There were no civilian casualties from this strike," Africom said in a statement following a coordinated operation with international partners near Torotoroow in southern Somalia.

The military said the strike was conducted within the parameters of the proposal approved by President Donald Trump in March, which allows the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct lethal action against Al-Shabaab within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities in support of partner forces in Somalia.

Ali Jabal was responsible for leading Al-Shabaab forces operating in the Mogadishu and Banadiir regions in planning and executing attacks against the capital of Mogadishu.

He used the Lower Shabelle Region of Somalia, a known Al-Shabaab safe haven, as a hub for these activities.

The militants were known in recent months to have conducted suicide car bombings and assassinations targeting police, governmental and military leaders in the capital.

Al-Shabaab militants were also known to have conducted numerous attacks against the Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia members in the region.

His removal disrupts the Al-Qaeda allied group’s ability to plan and conduct attacks in Mogadishu and coordinate efforts between Al-Shabaab regional commanders.

"We continue to work in coordination with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle Al-Shabaab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region," Africom said.

           

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