Somali Islamists kill at least three soldiers in roadside blast

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Somali Islamist militants detonated a roadside bomb, killing at least three soldiers passing in a military vehicle southwest of the capital on Tuesday, a military officer and the rebel group said.

The Islamist Al Shabaab group, which wants to topple the Western-back government in Mogadishu, has frequently attacked officials, soldiers and politicians in the Horn of Africa nation which is trying to rebuild after years of chaos and conflict.

“A roadside bomb hit one of our military pick-ups. So far we know three soldiers died,” Captain Farah Nur told Reuters. The vehicle was burned out by the blast and the death toll could rise, he added.

The attack took place around the village of Hawaabdi, about 17 km (10 miles) southwest of Mogadishu, he said.

“We targeted a remotely controlled bomb at a government military,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters.

Al Shabaab, which swept to power in 2006 and was then driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, has steadily lost territory after an African Union peacekeeping force and Somali troops launched an offensive against the group last year.

But the rebels have continued to stage hit-and-run attacks both inside Somalia and in neighboring Kenya.

Kenya’s military said they killed 11 al Shabaab militants and lost two of their own soldiers on Sunday when the group attacked a military camp in the northeastern coastal region near Somalia.

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