Al-Shabaab attacks African Union mission camps in central Somalia: report

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Somalia’s al-Shabaab group launched a car bomb and firearms attack on an African Union missionary force camp in the Shabelle region in the center of the country, a local elder and the group said on Tuesday.

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“We were woken up early in the morning by massive explosions. The explosions took place at the African Union mission base. A fierce exchange of fire ensued,” local elder Mohamed Nur told Reuters by phone from el-Baraf, some 130 km (80 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab, which has been fighting for years to overthrow the central government and establish its own rulership based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The mujahideen launched a dawn raid on an ATMIS (African Union Mission) military base in el-Baraf in the middle Shabelle region,” al Shabaab said in a statement.

“After a fierce firefight, the mujahideen managed to overrun the base and are now in complete control of the entire military base.”

Officials at Shabelle and the African Union Mission were not immediately available to comment on the attack.

Al-Shabaab frequently carries out bombings and gun attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere as part of its war against the central government of the Horn of Africa country.

It also targets soldiers working for the African Union peacekeeping mission.

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