Heavily armed fighters from the al-Shabab group launch coordinated assault on the base in the town of El-Ade.
by Al Jazeera
Fighters from the al-Shabab group have attacked a base for African Union peacekeepers in southwestern Somalia, blasting their way into the compound and exchanging fire with peacekeepers, a Somali military official told Al Jazeera.
Dozens of al-Shabab fighters on Friday assaulted the military base, which is run by Kenyan troops who are part of the AU force in the town of El-Ade, not far from the Kenyan border.
“The troops are fighting the terrorists to push them back,” Lieutenant Colonel Paul Njuguna, spokesman for the AU mission in Somalia, told Al Jazeera.
“The operation is still ongoing,” Njuguna said.
The assault started with a suicide car bomb, and then heavy gunfire was heard as fighters stormed into the base, he said.
Al-Shabab said their fighters killed dozens of Kenyan troops in the attack. However, Somali military has denied the claim.
“Everyone is familiar with al-Shabab’s propaganda. They will claim that they have taken over the camp even though they have not,” Njuguna told Al Jazeera.
“Once this battle ends, we will have the correct number of casualties and proper account of what and how this attack happened.”
Al-Shabab reported on its online radio station that its fighters had managed to penetrate the base and were fighting AU troops
Despite being pushed out of Somalia’s major cities and towns, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks across the Horn of Africa country.
The group, which has ties with al-Qaeda, has also carried out many deadly attacks inside Kenya.