Suicide carbomb attack hits hotel in central Somalia   2014-03-18 19:56:24            

MOGADISHU, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Islamist fighters on Tuesday rammed a suicide carbomb into a hotel in the central Somali town of Buloburte before heavily armed gunmen stormed the compound, which is used as commander center for government and African Union (AU)troops, official and witnesses said.

The attack came in the early hours of Tuesday, targeting the hotel where senior commanders of Somali government forces and AU troops were staying.

"The attackers first used suicide carbomb and several gunmen then tried to engage our forces who killed most of them while others who fled are being pursued," Yusuf Hasey, a government commander in Buloburte town, told Xinhua.

The Islamist group of Al-Shabaab immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on the hotel, claiming "dozens" of soldiers and officers were killed.

Witnesses said the attack lasted "several minutes" before it died down and then government soldiers and AU troops began searches for perpetrators in town.

Local media say a senior Somali military commander and local translator for the African Union peacekeeping forces in Somalia (AMISOM) were killed.

Buloburte was retaken from the Al-Qaida linked group by allied Somali government forces and AMISOM peacekeeping troops last week. The town used to serve as a hub of operations for Al-Shabaab in central Somalia.

The Islamist group launched another suicide carbomb attack Monday on an AMISOM convoy on the outskirts of the capital Mogadishu.

The upsurge in attacks by Al-Shabaab on Somali government forces and AMISOM troops comes amid a major offensive to dislodge the rebel fighters from their strongholds in the southern and central regions of the Horn of African country.

Editor: Luan
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