Two Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers were on Monday killed and three others wounded, including a U.S. officer, in a car bomb attack by al-Shaba militants within the vicinity of Jana Cabdalle, a town near the coastal city of Kismayo, both Somali and U.S. officials have confirmed.
Ismael Mukhtar Omar, government spokesman said the SNA thwarted a suicide bombing by al-Shabab militants after a vehicle tried to force its way into a military checkpoint, but was unable to do so as the area was heavily guarded.
“Two soldiers who were in control of the army base were killed, three injured, and no one else suffered loss of cowardly attack,” Ismael said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
He said the suicide bomber had fired warning shots at the security officers manning the military base but later blew himself up after being shot in the head by a security officer.
Chris Karns, director of U.S. Africa Command (Africom) Public Affairs said the U.S. and Somali forces were conducting an advise, assist and accompany mission when al Shabab attacked using a vehicle employed as an improvised explosive device and mortar fire.
“One U.S. service member was injured in an attack by al-Shabab this morning in the vicinity of Jana Cabdalle, Somalia,” Karns said.
However, al-Shabab which has been fighting to overthrow the Western-backed government claimed responsibility for the latest attack, saying its fighters killed four American soldiers and 16 U.S. trained Somalia special forces. The militants said 12 others were injured in the attack.
Southern and central regions of Somalia have become the battleground of clashes between government forces and al-Shabab extremists after the militants were driven out from the capital Mogadishu in August 2011 by Somali army and African Union forces.