Somalia: Al Shabaab militants attack strategic town, kill over 10 Soldiers

Somalia: Al Shabaab militants attack strategic town, kill over 10 SoldiersAt least 10 Somali soldiers have been killed in an attack by al-Shabaab militants in a Southern strategic town on Monday morning, witnesses and officials confirm.
Al Shabaab launched a surprise attack in Raga El district in the Middle Shebelle region, which it lost its control to the African Union and Somali government forces last year.
Shooting started shortly after sunrise and lasted more than three hours, while government forces were backed by African Union forces firing mortars from their bases in the outskirts of the town.
‘’It was a large-scale attack that began after early morning prayers and continued until daylight,’’ said one of the residents.
Al Shabaab managed to overrun the town briefly but were driven out moments later. It claimed the responsibility of the attack through its media and said they had killed dozens of soldiers.
At least ten Somali government soldiers have been confirmed dead in the assault, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The al-Qaeda-linked militant group has increased its attacks during this holy month of Ramadan across Southern Somalia.
Ramadan carries extra religious significance for the al-Shabaab, which claims that jihad provides more rewards during the period of religious observance considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
Last month, al-Shabaab attacked an African Union base in the neighbouring Lower Shebelle region, killing more than 50 Burundian peacekeepers.
The group’s latest attack reflects on diminished power against the African Union and Somali government when they were unable to initiate massive counterattack. As compared with control of“half of the country”at the height of Al-Shabaab’s power, the territory under the group’s control since the beginning of 2013 is very small.
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