Armed members of the militant group al-
Shabab attend a rally on the outskirts of
Mogadishu, Somalia Monday, Feb. 13, 2012. Thousands of Somalis gathered at a militant- organized demonstration on the outskirts of Mogadishu on Monday in support of the merger of the Somali militant group al-Shabab with al-Qaida, which was announced last week by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri. (AP

Al Shabaab kills 27 soldiers in Southern

NEWS DIGEST Added that Fighters of the al Shabaab group attacked a military base with a suicide car bomb in the south of Somalia, killing 27 soldiers, the group said on Monday, a blast heard by residents of a nearby town.

The attack follows a June attack on the base by al Shabaab that wounded seven soldiers. The group is battling to topple the central government and impose its rule based on its own strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia

There was no immediate comment from
government officials about the attack on the base in Baar Sanguni, about 50 km (31 miles) distant from the port city of Kismayu. law.

“We first attacked the base with a suicide car bomb and then stormed,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations. “We killed 27 soldiers and took the base. Some soldiers fled into the jungles.”

The military was sending reinforcements to the base following the reports of an explosion and heavy fighting after the rebel attack, one official said.

“We have sent reinforcement to the base,” Majo Mohamud Aden, a Somali military officer, told Reuters from Kismayu.

“We understand there was an explosion and heavy fighting between al Shabaab, who attacked the base, and the Somali forces. We have no details so far.”

Residents of the town of Jamame, 70 km (44 miles) away from Kismayu, said they heard the blast, followed by gunfire.

“We heard a huge blast after early morning prayers. Then heavy exchange of gunfire followed. It was in the direction of Baar Sanguni,” Reuters.



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