26 Soldiers Killed During Militant Attack In Somalia

26 soldiers were killed in an attack in the village of Bula Gudud in Somalia on Sunday, September 3, 2017. The attack occurred when al-Shabaab fighters entered a military base near Kismayu, a southern port city in Somalia, and attacked Somali soldiers on the site. Mohamed Isa, a military officer, spoke out about the attack, saying that “We understand al-Shabaab attacked the base and fierce fighting and a blast occurred, but still we have no details.”

The Bula Gudud base where the attack occurred is reportedly occupied by both the Somali national army, and troops from Jubaland. Jubaland is an autonomous region in the southern part of Somali that is named for its proximity to the coast near the mouth of the Jubba river. The base is located roughly 30 kilometres north of Kismayo, in the lower Jubba region.

According to Al Jazeera, residents in the Bula Gudud village heard a massive blast and then several rounds of gunfire. The fighting began soon after the first Muslim prayer of the day. Shortly after, al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. The group’s military spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, stated that “This morning [Sunday], we stormed the Jubaland base near Bula Gudud. We killed 26 soldiers and burnt two cars.” The group went on to seize weapons, ammunition, and several vehicles before vacating the area.

However, in recent months, this is not the first time that blood has been shed at the hands of al-Shabaab militants. The militant group, which has pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda, regularly resorts to violence to further its interests. In particular, the group aims to impose strict Sharia law in Somalia. It intends to do this by overthrowing the country’s weak government. Moreover, militants continue to maintain control over a significant portion of the Somali countryside. They use these areas to launch guerrilla warfare operations and suicide bombings in the capital of Somalia, as well as on the federal government’s military bases. The insurgents have also begun increasing their attacks on the African Union (AU) and other forces, particularly in Mogadishu and the southern region of the country.

Meanwhile, prior to the incident on Sunday, the most recent attacks occurred just last week. Militants allegedly killed three people in the Nyongoro area in Lamu last Wednesday, August 30, 2017. One individual was killed when his vehicle drove over a planted IED, while the others were killed during back-and-forth gunfire. In light of these attacks, the U.S. military has been carrying out air strikes against militant bases throughout Somalia. The U.S. Embassy in Somalia also released a statement about these barbaric acts of violence. The embassy said, “The U.S. encourages the Somali government to continue to create pathways for al-Shabaab members to reject terrorism and join efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous country for all Somalis.”

In addition, the government of Somalia has spoken out against these actions of violence within its nation, calling upon militants to pursue peaceful interests. As per an official statement released by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, “The Somali government’s policy is to welcome those willing to renounce terrorists and join the peace process and nation building.” Unfortunately though, at this point, it is clear that violence is still prevalent within this African nation.

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