Somalia: Five dead in attack on military base near airport

The al-Qaeda-linked armed group al-Shabab has said it was behind the attack at the camp near Mogadishu airport.

Al-Shabab fighters patrolling
Armed al-Shabab fighters patrol Bakara Market in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 29, 2009 [File: Mohamed Sheikh Nor/AP Photo]

At least five people, including two of the attackers, were killed during a raid by armed fighters on an army base near the Somali capital’s international airport, a diplomatic memo said.

On Wednesday, the state-run television said security forces were dealing with a “terrorist incident” at the gates to the camp. A witness said gunmen had forced their way in and started shooting.

State radio later reported that the two attackers had been stopped at the Halane base gates.

“Security Forces have shot dead two armed terrorists who attempted to force their way into the army base near #Mogadishu’s Adan Abdulle International Airport on Wednesday and police will give details shortly,” the Somali National Television said.

According to Reuters, an internal diplomatic security memo said two security guards, thought to be Kenyan nationals, and a Somali policeman were also killed in the incident. Four others were wounded.

The al-Qaeda-linked armed group al-Shabab has said it was behind the attack on the camp near Mogadishu airport. It fired mortars into the camp, where African Union (AMISOM) peacekeeping troops, United Nations and other international organisations are based.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, an al-Shabab spokesman, said the group’s fighters had gained entry to the base and inflicted casualties, but did not provide any evidence.

Videos and photos shared on social media showed black smoke billowing from an area near the airport runway.

“There is gunfire inside the airport vicinity, and we are (hearing) this is an ongoing attack involving gunmen,” Mohamed Ali, who works for airport security, told AFP news agency. “We don’t have details so far but the security forces are engaging them now.”

Workers at the airport also told news agencies that no flights are taking off and the movement of transport along the road inside the airport has been stopped.

The group al-Shabab aims to topple Somalia’s central government and impose its own severe interpretation of Islamic law.

Separately, a young female legislator was killed by a suicide bomber on Wednesday in the city of Beledweyne, about 300km (186 miles) north of Mogadishu, witnesses and relatives said.

Adan Farah, a local elder, told Reuters by telephone that Amina Mohamed, a vocal critic of the government known for her fiery speeches, was killed as she approached a building housing Hirshabelle State leaders.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies