Somalian Islamist militant group al-Shabaab yesterday said “Western” forces attacked a house in one of its coastal bases in the town of Barawe under the cover of dark, killing one rebel fighter.
Foreign forces landed on the beach at Barawe, about 180km south of Mogadishu, and launched an assault that drew gunfire from rebel fighters, said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for al-Shabaab’s military operations.
It was not immediately clear why the Barawe base had been targeted specifically, nor whether the assault was related to the attack on a Kenyan mall two weeks ago, which the group said it carried out and which killed at least 67.
Western navies patrol the sea off Somalia — mired in conflict for more than two decades — and have in the past launched strikes on land from warships.
No foreign military units typically involved in such operations in Somalia have said they were involved in the strike. One Western official in the region declined to comment.
Kenyan forces stationed in the southern parts of Somalia were unavailable for comment.
“Westerners in boats attacked our base at Barawe beach and one was martyred from our side,” Musab said.
“No planes or helicopters took part in the fight. The attackers left weapons, medicine and stains of blood, we chased them,” he said.
Many residents said they were woken by the noise of heavy gunfire late on Friday night.
“We were awoken by heavy gunfire last night, we thought an al-Shabaab base at the beach was captured,” Sumira Nur, a mother of four said from Barawe yesterday.
“We also heard sounds of shells, but we do not know where they landed. We don’t have any other information,” she said.
Although the US does not report its activities in Somalia, it has used drones in recent years to kill Somali and foreign al-Shabaab fighters.