Al-Shabaab fighters took over the Gariley military base in Jubaland State, which was recently handed over by the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) as part of the drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) troops.
Ibrahim Guled Aden, governor of El Wak District in the southern region of Gedo, confirmed that several people were injured in the fighting that finally led to the fall of the base into al-Shabaab control.
"Al-Shabaab fighters attacked our forces at Geriley base and captured it. They are in full control after defeating our forces who were in a small number, but we are working on plans to retake control of the base," Aden said.
The Geriley military base, which is located about 12 kilometers from the border with Kenya, was handed over to the Somali security forces on June 29.
Last week, Mohamud Sayid Aden, deputy president of Jubaland State, expressed concern over the ATMIS drawdown in the region, describing it as a hurried plan.
ATMIS withdrew 2,000 troops by June 30, and another 3,000 is expected to be withdrawn in September in compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2628 and 2670, which mandates ATMIS to also hand over security responsibilities in agreed areas to Somali security forces.