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Shabaab storms army base in central Somalia


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FDD's Long War Journal

Bill Roggio and Caleb Weiss

June 1, 2023

Just days after Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa, overran a Ugandan military base in southern Somalia, its men again raided another major outpost in central Somalia. Targeting a Somali special forces base in the central Galguduud Region, the assault targeted newly deployed troops freshly trained in Eritrea. 

On Tuesday, Shabaab launched a major suicide assault on the Somali military base in the town of Masagaway in Galguduud. The jihadists began the raid with at least one suicide car bomb before the much larger assault team stormed the base. However, exact details then vary on what exactly occurred next. According to the Somali government, the soldiers fought back, killing at least 30 Shabaab fighters before forcing the jihadis to withdraw. 

Unsurprisingly, Shabaab has painted an entirely different picture. According to its media, it initially claimed to have killed at least 73 Somali soldiers while also capturing copious amounts of weapons, equipment, and vehicles. It has since raised its tally to more than 149 troops killed. Undercutting the Somali government’s claims, it also released photos that appear to confirm many elements of its story including that the attack was not easily repulsed. 

And though the al Qaeda branch does show many killed Somali troops in its propaganda, it does still inflate the total number of those killed. In return, Somali state media has released its own counter-propaganda, with video of reinforcements showing up from nearby Ceeldheer to help secure the Masagaway base during the fighting. 


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