At least 6 Somali soldiers killed in landmine blast

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/5/9 22:51:14

At least six Somali soldiers were killed and several others injured in a landmine blast in Bay region of southwest Somalia on Tuesday, an official said.

Information Minister for Southwest State, Ugaas Hassan told Xinhua the soldiers were killed after their vehicle hit a landmine as they were rushing to help to provide reinforcement to regional forces who were engaged in heavy fighting with Al-Shabaab.

"I can confirm that six southwest State forces were killed after their vehicle hit a landmine blast, two other military vehicles were captured by Al-Shabaab, some soldiers are also missing now," Hassan said.

Witnesses said at least eight people were killed after the militants captured the strategic town of Goofgaduud near Baidoa city after a deadly battle with Southwest and Somali government troops.

"The vehicle which was ferrying reinforcement forces from the Somalia government was extensively destroyed after it ran over a landmine," said the witness, adding that the allied forces retreated after being pushed out of the town by Al-Shabaab fighters.

Sources said the insurgents armed with machine guns raided the town, before seizing its control. The attack has sparked hours-long gunfight.

Hassan also confirmed that the Al-Shabaab militants captured Goof-guduud location about 35 kilometers to Baidoa town in Bay region.

"Our forces retreated and the fight against Al-Shabaab is still going on despite casualties of landmine blast on our troops," he said.

Al-Shabaab, which previously vowed to continue the fight against the Somalia government, claimed responsibility for the latest deadly attack, saying they killed 17 government soldiers and recovered two armed vehicles.

The militant group frequently exaggerates the number of troops/civilians they kill or injure, while the Somalia government and Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) rarely gives exact tolls.

Independent sources and eyewitnesses in Baidoa town say the casualties are more than those told.

"I saw eight soldiers dead, many others are missing, the situation is no good here," one witnesses told Xinhua.

The deadly attack comes hours after Somali President Mohamed Abdulahi Farmajo paid visit to Afgoye town in lower Shabelle region under Southwest State on Monday.

Posted in: AFRICA

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