Normalcy returns to Somali town after police station attack

WEB_PHOTO_AFRICA_ARMIES_31082015

A handout image made available by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on October 6, 2014, shows soldiers belonging to the African Union Mission in Somalia, walking through the al-Shabaab stronghold of Barawe.

A handout image made available by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on October 6, 2014, shows soldiers belonging to the African Union Mission in Somalia, walking through the al-Shabaab stronghold of Barawe.

WEB_PHOTO_AFRICA_ARMIES_31082015

A handout image made available by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on October 6, 2014, shows soldiers belonging to the African Union Mission in Somalia, walking through the al-Shabaab stronghold of Barawe.

A handout image made available by the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) on October 6, 2014, shows soldiers belonging to the African Union Mission in Somalia, walking through the al-Shabaab stronghold of Barawe.

MOGADISHU – Relative calm has returned to Somalia’s south-western town of Afgooye after attack on a police station by Islamist militants that left nine people dead, an Africa Union official said on Wednesday.

Colonel Ronald Bigirwa, AU commander of Uganda’s battle group 18, said the security situation is generally calm with isolated incidents of insecurity following an attack on October 18 when a car laden with explosives rammed into a police station in the town of Afgooye.

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“Al-Shabaab is not controlling any area under the responsibility of my battle group. We have tried to secure the place against attacks,” Bigirwa said in a statement released in Mogadishu.

He, however, noted that in last week’s incident in which the police station was destroyed, six police officers, a boy and two civilian women were killed.

Bigirwa also dismissed media reports that Shabaab militants had overrun the town, saying they are a distortion and exaggeration of the situation on the ground. He added that in the incident, soldiers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) never used their weapons because there was no need to do so.

“It (Afgooye) was not overrun. They (Shabaab) never controlled any position apart from the explosion which killed people. It was very unfortunate,” said Bigirwa.

The militants have recently increased their attacks against Amisom and Somali forces in the country, which resulted in the loss of some towns although the militants mainly held those towns briefly.

The Amisom and Somali forces have also increased airstrikes in southern Somalia in the recent past, resulting in the killing of several militants in March.