NAIROBI, Kenya — Three Somali military officers were killed and two others injured along with an American service member in a bombing in southern Somalia on Monday, the authorities said, the latest example of a deadly insurgency that has continued to wreak havoc in the Horn of Africa nation.
Officials in Jubaland State said an explosives-laden pickup truck exploded around 8 a.m. at a military outpost in the Jana Abdalle area in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia. The attack came just days after Somali forces, with the support of American military personnel, reclaimed the area from the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab.
The authorities said the area, about 37 miles from the port city of Kismayo, had been used by the group as a hub to raise funds by taxing and extorting civilians moving across the region.
In recent years, the Shabab, who are a branch of Al Qaeda’s terrorist network and seek to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government, have lost many of the cities and villages they once controlled. Despite facing a record number of drone strikes, the group has morphed into a more nimble and lethal outfit, carrying out massive attacks against civilian and military targets across Somalia and neighboring countries.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack on Monday, but pro-Shabab media outlets reported that the extremist group had carried it out.
“After their defeat, we were expecting attacks like this,” Mohamed Ahmed Sabrie, the director of communications at the office of the regional president of Jubaland, said in a phone interview. “But nothing will stop us from freeing more areas from the Shabab and ensuring the safety of our people. We will do all we can.”
Mr. Sabrie said the wounded were airlifted to Kismayo for treatment.
Col. Chris Karns, the director of public affairs for the United States Africa Command, said in a statement that the U.S. forces were assisting Somali troops as part of efforts to curb the reach and movement of Shabab militants.
The wounded service member, he said, was “in stable condition and receiving treatment for injuries that are not assessed to be life-threatening.” At least one Shabab fighter was killed during the attack, the U.S. Africa Command said.
Recent attacks by the Shabab include an assault last month at a popular hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, that left 11 people dead and 18 others injured. That attack happened just days after 19 guards and inmates were killed after members of the insurgency attempted to escape Mogadishu’s central prison.
In June, the Shabab attacked a Turkish military base in Mogadishu, and in January, the group killed three Americans after they targeted a Kenyan military base used as an outstation by American troops. In late December, the group was blamed for detonating an explosives-laden truck that killed 82 people, including 16 university students.
To weaken the Shabab’s presence, Somali forces work alongside troops from the African Union peacekeeping operations, which include forces from Kenya, Djibouti, Burundi, Uganda and Ethiopia. There are also about 650 to 700 U.S. troops in Somalia, most of them Special Operations forces, who are fighting the Shabab from small outposts alongside local troops.
Hussein Mohamed contributed reporting from Mogadishu, Somalia.