MOGADISHU — Shabaab fighters attacked an Ethiopian army base in central Somalia early Thursday in the most recent raid targeting foreign soldiers deployed as part of an African Union force in the country, rebels and local residents said.
The Al-Qaeda linked militants attacked the base in Halgan in Hiran region, the group said in a statement distributed on its Telegram messaging channel.
It claimed that fighters had killed “at least 43” Ethiopian soldiers, but this could not be verified independently.
Residents in the area close to Halgan said the attack began when a vehicle driven by a suicide bomber exploded, after which jihadist gunmen fought their way into the base.
“There was a huge blast and then heavy exchange of gunfire started,” said Osman Adan, a nearby resident.
Shabaab launched this style of “swarming” attack a year ago and have since overrun forward operating bases manned by Burundian troops in Lego in June, Ugandan troops in Janale in September and Kenyan troops in El Adde in January.
The contributing countries refuse to confirm casualty numbers but it is believed that scores of soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) have been killed in each attack.
This is the first such attack on an Ethiopian outpost.
“Mujahideen fighters stormed the base and massacred many of the Ethiopians,” the Shabaab statement said.
The Shabaab was forced out of the capital Mogadishu five years ago but continues to carry out regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in its battle to overthrow the internationally-backed administration.
2 Nepalis in Lhasa jail for smuggling gold
RASUWA — Two Nepali youths are reported to be in a jail in Lhasa of China, on the charge of their involvement in gold smuggling.
Gyal Dorje Tamang of Gosaikunda Rural Municipality-5 in Rasuwa and Bikash Waiba of Hakubesi of Aamachhodongmo Rural Municipality were detained in Chinese territory by the customs department informers of the Tibet government around a month ago as they were about to enter Nepal on a truck bearing the Nepali number plate.
The Chinese side confiscated nine pieces of precious yellow metal from the two, Rasuwa District Police Office quoted the Nepal Consulate General Office in Lhasa as saying.
According to Rasuwa DPO’s Inspector of Police Dhruba Silwal, further details regarding the case are awaited.
It may be noted that the Chinese side has already started implementing the proposal floated by the Nepali side during the past border-security meetings to increase its surveillance in such illegal affairs bearing in mind increasing smuggling of gold into Nepali territory via China, as Silwal said.Follow @gorkhapost