Al Shabaab fighters attacked and briefly overpowered army personnel at Hilweyne village which hosted an ex-security agents training facility during the military dictator, Siad Barre’s era between 1969 and 1991.

The insurgents, according to Somalia military sources, were repelled but not before inflicting heavy damage to the posts.

The sources confirmed that two of their officers and four civilians two of whom were women were killed.

The army says they, on their side, killed a number of the attackers. But, since neither a number was quoted nor bodies put on display, one cannot be sure of the claims.

Civilian sources at Hilweyne told of fighters storming into the ex-facility which now serves as a military base, burning vehicles and tents which indicates how the attack had taken the facility by surprise.

Al Shabaab, through one of its pages, Andalusradio, claimed that their forces have completely taken over the Hilweyne military base, 32 kilometres north of the Federal Somalia capital of Mogadishu, overnight on Wednesday.

Shabaab added that they have killed at least four of the soldiers manning the post before the rest fled the area. An undisclosed number of vehicles and arsenal was also captured by the fighters according to the report.

The Al Shabaab raid, coming hours after another devastating one was staged at a stone’s throw from the federal Somalia sea of Villa Somalia, shows how potent the Al Qaida-affiliated group threat still is.

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