Saturday, June 04, 2011

African Union Says Base Attacked in Mogadishu

African Union Says Extremists Dressed as Soldiers Attack Base; Five Killed

By Paul Richardson - May 30, 2011

The African Union said at least five people, including two peacekeepers, were killed in an attack by “extremists” in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

An AU position at Shakala in the city was attacked by “several extremists” dressed as Somali soldiers, Major Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the force, known as Amisom, said in an e-mailed statement today. A firefight ensued and three of the attackers were killed, including one “would-be suicide bomber,” he said.

Two Amisom soldiers were killed and another was injured, while three fighters from the pro-government Ahlu Sunah Waljamah militia that was helping guard Shakala were also wounded, Ankunda said.

Somalia’s government has been battling Islamist insurgents, including al-Shabaab, since 2007. The rebels control most of southern and central Somalia. The U.S. accuses al-Shabaab of having links to al-Qaeda, which has said it aims to establish a caliphate, or Islamic government, in the Horn of Africa country.

AU forces have made gains against the insurgents in Mogadishu in recent months and now control 13 of the city’s 16 districts, Information Minister Abdulkareem Jama said last week. Somalia’s government controlled 40 percent of the city in October, Wafula Wamunyinyi, deputy special representative to the African Union Commission for Somalia, said that month.

Islamic insurgents have fled several key positions, including sections of the Bakara market, once a militia stronghold, in a government-led offensive that began this month, Nathan Mugisha, commander of Somalia’s Africa Union mission, said on May 23. The fighting claimed the lives of 22 militants and two AU soldiers, he said.

Somalia hasn’t had a functioning central administration since the ouster of the former dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre, in 1991.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Richardson in Nairobi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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