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Al-Shabaab claims southern Somalia army base attack

media File photo of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peacekeepers from Burundi on patrol outside of Mogadishu, Somalia Reuters/Feisal Omar

Militant group al-Shabaab claimed an assault on an army base in southern Somalia on Wednesday, which included car bombs and gunfire. A Somali journalist embedded with the army was killed during the attack, according to a journalists’ association.

The attack started with vehicle bombs, according to the Somali army.

"After the blasts they tried to attack the army defences but were defeated. We are still pursuing them, General Yusuf Rageh, commander of the Somali infantry regiments, told reporters in Awdheegle, some 70 kilometres south of Mogadishu, the capital, where the attack took place.

“Some soldiers sustained minor injuries from blast shrapnel but nothing major," he added.

Shabaab, a miltant group which controls parts of Somalia, claimed the attack, adding they “killed many soliders.”

The death toll report regularly differs between the Somali government and the militant group.

But the death of journalist Gacal Abdulle Gacal, 23, who was embedded with the army’s radio station, was confirmed by the Federation of Somali Journalists. He is the third Somali journalist to die this year.

"We condemn radio journalist Gacal's murder in the strongest terms as it is a serious press freedom violation,” said federation president Abdadir Abdulkadir Elmi in a statement.

We demand an investigation how the journalist is killed," he added.

Somali forces work with AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, to maintain security. They had taken Awdheegle from Shabaab, who is linked to al-Qaeda, just last week.

Shabaab has been trying to overthrow the Somali government for more than a decade.

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