MOGADISHU, Al-Shabaab militants attacked the main base of the African Union peacekeeping force known as AMISOM in Mogadishu on Thursday, with explosion and gunfire heard inside the base.
“Explosion and gunfire were heard inside the AMISOM base, as fighters attacked the place,” an eyewitness told Xinhua.
Al-Shabaab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab confirmed the attack, saying its fighters have entered the base by force and are carrying out attacks.
“The fighters have entered Halane base and there is fighting which is still going on,” he said.
There is no statement yet concerning the Al-Shabaab claim from the Somali government and AMISOM.
Halane base, which is part of Adan Ade International Airport in the Somalia capital, hosts the UN’s local headquarters, AMISOM’s main command center and several western embassies.
The heavily fortified base is one of the few secure areas in the recuperating city.
UN special representative in the country Nicholas Kay has condemned the attack.
“I condemn attack on Mogadishu airport base. Terrorists will not stop Somalia rising,” he said.
The Al-Shabaab militant group has carried out hit-and-run attacks targeting government installations and AMISOM peacekeeping troops since it was pushed out of the capital Mogadishu and several key strategic towns in south and central Somalia.