Somalia’s Islamist militia al-Shabaab said on Saturday that a dawn raid at its strongholds in the small town of Barawe in the south of the country was carried out by British and Turkish special forces.
The commander of the British force, it said, was killed during the attack and four other SAS operatives were critically wounded. One Turkish soldier was also wounded, according to a statement by Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operation spokesman.
The statement by the militia could not immediately be independently verified and Turkish special forces said they did not take any part in the attack, according to a foreign ministry official.
A resident of Barawe - a seaside town 240 kilometers south of Mogadishu – told Agence France-Presse by telephone that heavy gunfire woke up residents before dawn prayers. An al-Shabaab fighter who gave his name as Abu Mohamed said “foreign” soldiers attacked a house, prompting militants to rush to the scene to capture a soldier. Mohamed said that effort was not successful.
The international troops attacked a two-story beachside house in Barawe where foreign fighters lived, battling their way inside, said Mohamed, who said he had visited the scene. Al-Shabaab has a formal alliance with al-Qaeda, and hundreds of foreign fighters from the U.S., Britain and Middle Eastern countries fight alongside Somali members of al-Shabaab.
(With Reuters and AFP)