Nearly 70 dead in al-Shabaab attack on Somalia military base

Heavily armed al-Shabaab extremists have stormed a military base in Somalia’s semiautonomous state of Puntland, killing close to 70 people, officials said Thursday.
Officials called it the region’s deadliest attack in years, highlighting the twin challenges facing security forces from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab and the growing presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group.
The attack began with a blast at the remote Af-Urur camp, roughly 100km west of the commercial hub of Bossaso, before the extremists overran the base and killed soldiers at close range, said Ahmed Mohamed, a senior military official.
Close to 70 people were killed, though an exact death toll was not yet available, Mohamed said.
Residents in the area reported chaotic scenes, with fighters beheading several civilians they encountered. One witness, Abdibasit Hassan, said women were among those beheaded.
“The situation is grim over there. This attack was an unexpected one,” Mohamed said. The extremists, including suicide bombers, reportedly attacked the base from three directions, forcing soldiers to retreat.

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