MOGADISHU (Reuters) – At least 10 people were killed on Saturday when a suicide bomber attacked makeshift kiosks in the Somali capital, hours after Islamist Al Shabaab militants attacked two National Army bases on the outskirts of the city, he said. government.
“A suicide bomber blew himself up under the trees where poor mothers were selling tea, milk and khat (narcotic leaf),” Information Ministry spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Omar told Reuters, adding that more people were injured in the attack. .
There was no immediate comment from al Shabaab, which had previously claimed responsibility for the attacks on the Bariire and Awdhigle military bases.
The army previously said there had been casualties on both sides in those attacks, but was now in control.
The bases, located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, were hit by two explosions, witnesses said. A third blast targeted a convoy of troops that rushed to the bases from the capital after the attack, they added.
Militants of al Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, have fought years of attacks and charged trade tolls in a campaign to introduce strict religious law.
Saturday’s attacks come amid growing fears that the group may try to exploit vulnerabilities created by the failure to hold parliamentary and presidential elections, which were scheduled to take place in February.
Hussein Nur, a military officer, said the army lost “several” soldiers in the attack on the bases, without giving an exact number.
The army sent reinforcements from other stations, which killed an unidentified number of attackers in the fight that followed, he told Reuters.
The army had taken control of both bases and the surrounding area and “we are pursuing the militants in the surrounding jungle,” he said.
Al Shabaab said it had launched a suicide vehicle bomb attack against the Bariire base while simultaneously attacking the nearby Awdhigle base with a car bomb and fighters, to prevent troops stationed there from reinforcing Bariire.
“We invaded the Bariire base, burned three military vehicles and seized two vehicles,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters, referring to a brief occupation of Bariire.
A third vehicle-carried explosive device hit a convoy of government troops fleeing Mogadishu with reinforcements, he said. He also said that there had been casualties on both sides in the attacks.
Reporting by Feisal Omar and Abdi Sheikh Written by Duncan Miriri Editing by Frances Kerry