Al-Shabab assault kills 50 AU soldiers in Somalia
An attack by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia has claimed the lives of at least 50 African Union (AU) soldiers and left another 50 missing, Western military sources say.
“It is assessed that at least 50 AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) troops died,” read a briefing note written by the unidentified Western military officials and seen by AFP.
Around 100 soldiers were also “unaccounted for” following the assault, according to the note.
On Tuesday, al-Shabab militants stormed a military camp manned by soldiers from Uganda, in the Somali town of Janale, located in the region of Lower Shabelle.
The militants took over the base, looted weapons stores and loaded corpses onto trucks, according to witnesses. The militants first destroyed two bridges near the military camp and then detonated a car bomb at the base’s gate, paving the way for approximately 200 militants to overrun the site.
Al-Shabab claimed that the Tuesday raid was in retaliation for the alleged killing of civilians by Ugandan troops in the Somali city of Merca back in July.
In a statement released late Tuesday, AMISOM said that it is “verifying the number of casualties and extent of the damage” given the “complex nature” of the al-Shabab attack.
Al-Shabab militants killed dozens of Burundian soldiers in June when the former took control of an AMISOM outpost in the village of Lego, situated 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of the Somali capital city of Mogadishu.