Somalia’s military says it has repulsed an attack by al-Shabab militants on a military base in the country’s central Galgaduud region.
The attack on the military base took place in the village of Qayib in Somalia’s central state of Galmudug on Monday.
Local officials in the state told VOA over the phone that the attack started with a car bombing, followed by two hours of fierce fighting between the army and al-Shabab militants.
Speaking to Somali government-run radio, military Colonel Hassan Jamici said the army inflicted heavy casualties on them.
He says the militants attacked during the morning prayer and the village is now under army control. He says this was no skirmish and that the militants attacked with all their power.
The attack comes a day after Somalia said it killed 200 al-Shabab militants over a four-day period.
Residents who spoke to VOA said that they heard loud explosions and reported casualties on both sides.
Somali local media reported that at least 15 people were killed in the attack on the army camp in Galmudug state. The camp is located 90 kilometers east of the state administrative capital of Dhusamareb.
The militants have increased their attacks since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May and vowed an “all-out war” against al-Shabab.
Experts believe that the group has increased its attacks because it feels its existence has been threatened.
Mohamed Husein Gaas, director of the Mogadishu-based Raad Peace Research Institute, told VOA via WhatsApp that al-Shabab is now facing the biggest resistance ever by the public.
“Whenever al-Shabab feels its existence is threatened it intensifies its attacks, said Gaas. “This time, it is facing its biggest threat of public uprising and offensive as the country and its population are determined to end the al-Shabab once and for all.”
He said, however, that a multifaceted strategy by the army for liberating the country from al-Shabab needs calibration and must be implemented in a way that does not hurt the struggling economy.
Al-Shabab has been fighting in the Horn of Africa nation, targeting Somali government officials and African Union peacekeepers since 2007.
Late last month, twin car bombings by al-Shabab in the capital took the lives of more than 100 people and wounded more than 300 others.