Militants from the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab have stormed an African Union base in southwestern Somalia. Clashes are continuing between the militants and Kenyan peacekeepers.
A suicide car bomb rammed into the gates of an African Union base at Ceel Cado near the Kenyan border on Friday, al-Shabab and a Somali military officer said.
The ramming allowed militants to shoot their way inside, and clashes were reported to be ongoing with Kenyan peacekeepers.
The al-Qaeda affiliated Islamist group has been waging war against the internationally-recognized government in Mogadishu, which is supported by an African Union mission that includes Kenyan forces. The group has largely been pushed out of major Somali cities and towns, but continues to conduct guerrilla operations.
In retaliation for Kenya's participation in the 22,000-strong African Union mission, al-Shabab continues to carry out terror attacks inside Kenya, including one that killed 67 people at the Westgate Mall in 2013 and another on Garissa University that left 148 dead last year.
Kenyan authorities last month warned the country could face further attacks after some factions within al-Shabab reportedly pledged allegiance to the so-called "Islamic State," al-Qaeda's main rival in the global jihadist movement.
cw/rc (AP, Reuters)