Al-Shabab Raids AU Base in Somalia

Al-Shabab Raids AU Base in SomaliaAl-Shabab Raids AU Base in Somalia

Al-Shabab militants attacked an African Union base in southern Somalia early on Tuesday, the group and residents said, in which dozens of soldiers were reportedly killed.

The Al-Qaeda-aligned militants said one of their insurgents rammed a car bomb into the base and then gunmen poured inside the facility run by the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia, AMISOM, Reuters reported.

Al-Shabab said 50 peacekeepers were killed in the attack on Janale Base, about 90 kilometers south of the capital Mogadishu. In the past, the group has exaggerated the number of troops it has killed and officials have played down losses.

“Now Janale base of AMISOM is under our control,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman, said.

But the AU peacekeeping force said the base was under AMISOM control, denying reports that the base was taken over or weapons captured.

“After morning prayers we heard a big explosion followed by heavy gunfire in the AMISOM base. We do not have further details as we are indoors,” Janale resident Ahmed Olow said.

Captain Bilow Idow, a Somali military officer based in a town near Janale, said the base was effectively cut off as the militants had destroyed a nearby bridge.

“No reinforcement can reach there. There is much death and damage.”

Al-Shabab, which wants to topple a western-backed government and impose its own strict rule, has also carried out attacks against neighboring countries such as Kenya and Uganda to retaliate for troops being sent to Somalia as part of the AU peacekeeping force.