Atleast 12 killed including 4 Djaboutian in Al-shabaab attack on Somali Police Station.
Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) — Al-Shabaab militants killed at least 12 people Tuesday in a car bombing and assault on a police station shared by African Union peacekeepers in a key Somali commercial hub, authorities said.
At least four of the Islamist attackers also were killed as Somali police and AU troops responded to the assault on the police station in Beledweyne, about 200 miles north of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, said Abdi Farah Laqanyo, governor of the Hiran region.
The attack is the latest on Somali and AU forces by Al-Shabaab, a group that is fighting the government in hopes of turning Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
A car packed with explosives was driven into the station’s gate and burst “into a huge ball of flames” about 11 a.m., Laqanyo said.
Attackers then entered the police compound and exchanged fire with police and AU forces, authorities said. The station is a base for Djiboutian troops serving as peacekeepers for the African Union Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, which supports Somali forces in cracking down on Al-Shabaab.
The attack killed at least 10 defenders — six Somali policemen and four Djiboutian soldiers with AMISOM — said Col. Abdilkadir Osman, a police officer in the town. Two civilians also were killed, authorities said.
A spokesman for Al-Shabaab’s military operations, Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, said the group carried out the attack. Abu Musab claimed the attack killed 18 AMISOM troops and 23 Somali forces, though CNN could not independently verify that count.
A witness who was 200 meters from the site said the attackers used assault rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades after the car bombing. The witness, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a plume of black smoke rose from the police station.