Al Shabaab claims attack on police station in central Somalia

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 19, 2013 3:18 AM

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somalian Islamist militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on Tuesday on a police station north of the capital Mogadishu.

Members of the group, which has links to al-Qaeda, entered the compound after blowing the gates with a car bomb.

"We attacked the Baldweyne police station and killed many Somali police and Djiboutians," al Shabaab's military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters.

"The station is now under our control. We are inside and still carrying out the operation."

The number of casualties was not known.

Last month, a bomber killed 16 people in a cafe in the same district, targeting Ethiopian and Djibouti troops who al Shabaab accuses of invading Somalia.

Somali and African forces, including soldiers from Ethiopia and Djibouti, pushed al Shabaab out of Baladweyne more than a year ago.

Al Shabaab's territory has greatly dwindled over the past two years, but the group continues to control rural areas and some towns and has ratcheted up guerrilla-style attacks.

"Armed militants went in (to the police station) and continued killing policemen," legislator Dahir Amin Jesow told Reuters.

Officials and police in the town were not available for comment.

(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by John Stonestreet)