Clashes between Somali government forces, Al-Shabaab forces, and unknown airstrikes resulted in the reported deaths of up to 47 government soldiers and the injury of 11 other government soldiers, as well as the claimed death of 77 Al-Shabaab fighters in Bariire on April 3, 2021.
Hussein Mohamed, a journalist for the New York Times in Somalia, reported on airstrikes on Bariire town on April 3rd just hours after Al-Shabaab launched an attack on a Somali military base that resulted in the death of over 50 soldiers. The Uganda People’s Defence Force also reportedly shelled Al Shabaab positions in Bariire.
Deutsche Welle reported that “In Bariire, witnesses said the militants managed to enter the camp and torch some of the military supplies. Separately, the groups said it has captured military vehicles and supplies in the attacks.”
Al Jazeera included a quote from Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, who said that “We overran Bariire base, burnt three military vehicles and took two vehicles.” Al-Shabaab used a vehicle-borne suicide-bomb attack at the Bariire base and briefly occupied the base. At the same time, they launched an attack on the nearby Awdhigle base so that troops there couldn’t reinforce Bariire.
Resident Abdirahim Malin told Al Jazeera “we heard a heavy explosion caused by a suicide bomber ramming a car at the entrance to the base and a heavy exchange of gunfire followed. A few minutes later the militant fighters managed to enter the camp and torched some military supplies belonging to the Somali army.”
General Mohamed Tahlil Bihi, commander of the government’s infantry forces, told The Associated Press “we lost nine of our soldiers and 11 others got wounded from our side” while Musab, al-Shabab’s spokesman, said that they killed 47 government troops. General Mohamed Tahlil Bihi also announced that the government forces “killed 60 of their militias on one spot and 17 others near the other base”. It is unclear what role the airstrikes played in causing casualties.
Following the attack, AFRICOM told Hussein Mohamed that the US did not conduct any airstrikes in Somalia that date. Alex Ward, a reporter for Vox, provided the same statement from AFRICOM. While this strike may the pattern of previous US actions in Somalia, other international actors are also active, including Kenya and Uganda.
The local time of the incident is unknown.