The Al-Shabaab Islamists launched a deadly attack on a military base north of the Somali capital on Tuesday, January 17, just after the government announced that it had won a "
historic victory " against them by retaking a "
" coastal town from them
Contradictory figures have been put forward by different sources on the number of soldiers killed during this assault on the Hawadley military camp, located about 60 kilometers north of Mogadishu.
An uncertain record
Army chief Odowaa Yusuf Rage told state radio that five soldiers, including an officer, were "
martyred to death
A little earlier, a commander of an allied militia in power near Hawadley, contacted by AFP, had announced to him a toll of 11 soldiers killed.
The jihadists first detonated a vehicle loaded with explosives, then attacked
" the military camp, said the commander, Mohamed Osman, reached by telephone.
Read alsoSomalia: the UN denounces the increase in the number of civilian victims of violence
The attack was claimed by the shebab, a group affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
The Hawadley base was recaptured from the Al-Shabaab last October by government forces and their clan militia allies.
On Monday, the Somali army announced that it had taken over Harardhere, a port city located about 500 km north of the capital, controlled since 2010 by the shebab.
The government assured that the recovery of this "
" city constituted a "
“Total war” promised by the president
Tuesday's attack "
demonstrates the Shebab's ability to produce homemade bombs and deploy them in Hirshabelle state
," Omar Mahmood, Somalia researcher at the International Crisis Group, told AFP.
It is difficult to say that this is direct retaliation after the capture of Harardhere, but it is more of a broader response to the ongoing offensive
" by pro-government forces, he said. he continued.
Read alsoIn Somalia, al-Shabab is back
The shebabs have been fighting the federal government supported by the international community since 2007.
Driven out of the main cities of the country in 2011-2012, they remain firmly established in vast rural areas.
President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, who returned to power in May 2022, promised them "
", and recently called their members "
Army support for local militias
In September, the head of state sent the army (including special forces) to support local militias, known as "
", which revolted against the shebab.
This offensive, supported by the African Union force in Somalia (ATMIS) and American airstrikes, made it possible to reconquer vast territories of two states in the center of the country, Hirshabelle and Galmudug.
Read alsoDominique Benneteau-Wood (Carrefour), Mayssa Chebab (Facebook), Justin Atkin (Port of Antwerp)
The government notably claimed in early December to have taken over Adan Yabal, an emblematic locality of Hirshabelle held by the shebab since 2016 and presented as a "
" and a logistical node for the insurgents in the region.
But the shebabs continue to carry out bloody attacks in retaliation, underlining their ability to strike at the heart of Somali cities and military installations.
Multitude of attacks perpetrated
Nineteen people were killed in two car bomb attacks in Mahas (center) in early January.
On October 29, two car bombs exploded in Mogadishu, killing 121 people and injuring 333 others, in the deadliest attack in five years in this Horn of Africa country, also affected by a historic drought.
At the beginning of October, a triple attack in Beledweyne (center), capital of the province of Hiran, had also killed 30 people, including local officials.
In August, at least 21 guests of a hotel in Mogadishu were killed in a spectacular 30-hour assault.
The president announced that new contingents of Somali soldiers, trained in Eritrea, would soon be deployed as part of the anti-shebab operations.