MOGADISHU, Feb. 19 (Xinhua/GNA) - Somali
security forces killed several al-Shabab militants who had attempted to raid
military bases in the southern region on Tuesday night, a government official
said on Wednesday.
Government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar said a group of militants conducted a pre-dawn vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attack on Somali National Army (SNA) military base in El-Salini village and Qoryoley town manned by AMISOM forces but suffered losses.
"The terrorists wanted to disrupt the security of the military bases in order to justify their existence, but they suffered heavy losses and casualties”, Omar told Xinhua.
The militants claimed to have attacked Qoryoley town with a car bomb before the heavily armed fighters took over most parts of the town.
However, Oman said the militants were repulsed and many of their fighters were killed.
Witnesses said they heard loud explosions and heavy gunfire at the AMISOM military bases in El-Salini and Qoryoley in Lower Shabelle region.
The Somali security forces, backed by allied forces, have stepped up their air and ground operations against the militants in the Horn of Africa nation despite the militants' continued resistance, at times targeting military bases, hotels and other public places.