Sept. 7 (UPI) — A car bombing and mortar attack in southern Somalia on Monday killed at least three Somali special forces soldiers and wounded a U.S. officer in the state of Jubaland, officials said.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group claimed responsibility and claimed that 20 Somali soldiers were dead, Al Jazeera reported.
Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo, a Somali government spokesman, told Anadolu news agency a suicide car bomb exploded outside the special forces base.
“A [suicide] car bomb blast targeted a military base in Janay Abdalla earlier on Monday,” Oronjo said.
“One U.S. service member was injured in an attack by al-Shabab this morning,” Col. Chris Karns, the director of public affairs for the United States Africa Command, said in a statement.
“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.”
Karns said the wounded U.S. soldier was in stable condition after being airlifted to Kismayo along with several wounded Somali troops.
The attack occurred at a military outpost in the Jana Abdalle area in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia, the New York Times reported. Somali forces, with American military support, had just reclaimed the area, the Times said.
“After their defeat, we were expecting attacks like this,” Mohamed Ahmed Sabrie, the director of communications at the office of the regional president of Jubaland, told the Times. “But nothing will stop us from freeing more areas from the Shabab and ensuring the safety of our people. We will do all we can.”
The Somali government in Mogadishu has been fighting al-Shabab forces since 2008.
Al-Shabab militants attacked a Mogadishu beachfront hotel in August, killing at least 16 people, including at least one police officer. That attack occurred after a violent jailbreak in Mogadishu by Al-Shabab insurgency prisoners in which 19 guards and inmates were killed.
In January, three U.S. soldiers were killed during an Al-Shabab gun battle attack on a U.S. surveillance aircraft at a Kenya military base airport.