Somali officer, 3 guards killed

2012-10-29 19:16
(Abdurashid Abikar, AFP)

(Abdurashid Abikar, AFP) (Abdurashid Abikar)

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Mogadishu - A senior Somali military commander and three bodyguards were killed in an ambush by the Islamist sect al-Shabaab in the southern Lower Shabeelle region, Somali authorities confirmed on Monday.

Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack on Mohamed Ibrahim Farah late on Sunday on a road between former the rebel strongholds of Marka and Afgoye, close to the capital Mogadishu.

"We will redouble the operations to clean al-Shabaab fighters out of the regions of Somalia," acting Defense Minister Hussein Arab Isse told reporters. According to military officials several al-Shabaab fighters were also killed in ensuing clashes.

Al-Shabaab has reportedly vowed to hunt down government officials in areas recently captured by Somali and African Union troops and has stepped up attacks. Almost daily clashes in Lower Shabeelle have restricted civilian movement in the region.

Al-Shabaab has been waging an insurgency against the government since 2007, but in the past year it has ceded ground to AU troops, who have secured key regions for the government.

In a separate development, the number of Somali journalists killed in targeted attacks this year rose to 17 after a radio station editor attacked last week by gunmen died of his wounds. Mohamed Mohamud Turyare, 25, died in hospital on Sunday.

Somalia has not been under the control of a central authority since 1991, when civil war spread throughout the strategically located Horn of Africa nation. In September, parliament elected a president under a UN-backed transition plan.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa
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