Two senior Somali military commanders and seven other soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine south of Mogadishu, officials and militants said. The victims’ vehicle was part of a military convoy that left the town of Danane for Mogadishu on Thursday evening, December 6th.
The two senior commanders, identified as Omar Hassan and Abdi Ali, had been leading an anti-al-Shabaab operation in Lower Shabelle region.
The al-Shabaab group, which is fighting the government, claimed responsibility for the attack. “The mujahideen targeted and killed the commander of the 12th Division and his deputy and several other soldiers,” an al-Shabaab statement said.
Thursday’s attack is the deadliest in 2018 for the Somali army. In the last few months, al-Shabaab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, has stepped up its attack on Somalia and African Union forces in and around Mogadishu. A 22,000-strong African Union force is in the Horn of Africa country to help the government defeat al-Shabaab.