Evil is on the march across the globe today, as a string of potentially ISIS-related atrocities is joined by a brutal attack on an African Union military base in Somalia by al-Shabaab, which has traditionally been an al-Qaeda affiliate, but has been courted by the Islamic State.
Al-Shabaab began its attack on the AU base, located in Leego on a major road connecting the capital of Mogadishu to the city of Baidoa, with a suicide car bomb, according to the BBC.
“The base is manned by Burundian soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), which has more than 20,000 troops in the country,” the BBC writes, adding that eyewitness reports from the area paint a grim picture of “militants burning vehicles, carrying off weapons and removing the bodies of their fighters killed in the attack.”
Al-Shabaab claims to have taken control of the base after at least 30 people were killed in the fighting, but the Somali government says the attack, along with two others in the region, were repelled. It was not entirely clear at the time of this writing whether fighting was still in progress in Leego. A report at Reuters quotes the regional governor saying the battle was still raging three hours after the assault began.
“Al-Shabab has vowed to intensify attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. On Wednesday, the first day of Ramadan, the United Arab Emirates ambassador survived a suicide attack on his convoy in Mogadishu,” writes the BBC, contributing to the growing impression that Islamist terrorists like al-Shabaab and ISIS don’t put much stock in the idea of Ramadan as a holiday. In fact, Reuters reports the attack in Somalia was timed to coincide with morning prayers.
Al-Shabaab has been very active over the past week, staging two attacks in Mogadishu. The previous week, the Somali gang hit a military camp in Kenya, sparking a battle that killed 11 terrorist fighters and two Kenya Defense Force soldiers. One of the al-Shabaab fighters killed in the gun battle was a white British recruit named Thomas Evans, who had adopted the Muslim name Abdul Hakim. He was carrying a camera as his al-Shabaab team emerged from the bush to begin the attack, so his final moments were captured on video: