Gunfight outside Afgooye town near Mogadishu

Soldiers of the Somali National Army (SNA) walk at dusk near the outskirts of Afgooye during an SNA/AMISOM offensive in 2012 (Credit: UN/Stuart Price)

MOGADISHU – A fierce gunfight broke out last night between Somalia National Army (SNA) troops backed by African Union (AMISOM) forces and Al-Shabaab militants near Mogadishu.

The battle flared up after heavily armed Al-Shabaab fighters launched an attack on bases manned by coalition forces outside Afgooye town, which lies about 30 km away from the capital.

Police chief Mohamed Amin told The Messenger Africa that a number of militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and machine-guns assaulted the allied forces’ bases, killing at least two government soldiers.

He said that several insurgents had been killed and wounded in the combat, adding that the Somali and AMISOM troops had beaten back the militants.

“It was an ambush attack that targeted government troops and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers’ bases in Bulo-folio neighborhood. At least two soldiers were killed,” Amin said.

Meanwhile, Radio Andalus, the pro Al-Shabaab station broadcast that at least two Ugandan soldiers serving under the AMISOM mission had been killed in the assault.

There was no response from African Union Mission in Somalia over the attack on its troops base near the capital of Mogadishu.

However, several other attacks and bombings Tuesday and Wednesday elsewhere in the country were confirmed by AMISOM and other sources. The Emirates Red Cross reported a bombing of its convoy in Mogadishu on Wednesday, saying that the convoy had been sent to help starving Somali children when it came under attack.

Separately, AMISOM reported that one of its convoys traveling between Ceelasha Biyaha to Arbiska was attacked by an explosive device on Tuesday evening. It said that four civilians were injured in the attack. The following day, unidentified assailants reportedly shot dead a Djiboutian soldier serving with AMISOM in the central Somalia district of Hiiraan.

Reporting by Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare