‘Al-Shabab attacks Africa Union forces in Somalia’

Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, says it has carried out what may prove to be one of its most deadly attacks on the African Union mission in Somalia, however, the two sides provided very different death tolls.

The al-Qaeda affiliate says it killed 170 African Union (AU) soldiers, mostly from Burundi, and captured an unknown number of soldiers as prisoners of war. However, Burundi’s army says that it has lost 10 soldiers, with another five missing.

It has not been possible to independently verify these claims.

The assault in the country’s Middle Shabelle region saw heavily armed fighters storm the al-Baraf base where Burundian forces, serving under the AU mission supporting the Somali government in its fight against al-Shabab, were stationed.

Local people reported hearing a loud bang followed by gunshots on the morning of the assault.

“The attack happened early Tuesday morning,” a member of the AU mission, who asked to remain anonymous, told the BBC. “Two vehicles filled with explosives entered the compound and a gunfight ensued. I don’t know the exact number of people killed but there were many casualties.”

The African Union has condemned what it called a “terrorist” attack.

AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahama, paid his respect to the Burundian soldiers killed in the deadly attack, saying “those lost will never be forgotten”.

In a statement, the AU said the attack would not lessen the work of the African Union Transition Mission In Somalia (ATMIS).

It added that it would continue to support the Somali government in its aim of achieving sustainable peace and security.

Mr Faki said he’d spoken to Burundi’s President, Évariste Ndayishimiye, to express his condolences.

Mr Ndayishimiye said there were no words strong enough to condemn the attack on Burundian soldiers.

The Burundi army said 10 of its peacekeepers in Somalia were killed in the attack and another five were missing. However, a high-ranking officer in the Burundian army told the AFP news agency that 30 of their soldiers had been killed and dozens more were unaccounted for.

ATMIS force spokesperson, Lt Col Daniel Mugoro Muiruri, told the BBC that most of the details about the attack were still being verified.

The AU does not normally release the death toll from al-Shabab attacks. –BBC/AFP

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‘Al-Shabab attacks Africa Union forces in Somalia’

Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, says it has carried out what may prove to be one of its most deadly attacks on the African Union mission in Somalia, however, the two sides provided very different death tolls.

The al-Qaeda affiliate says it killed 170 African Union (AU) soldiers, mostly from Burundi, and captured an unknown number of soldiers as prisoners of war. However, Burundi’s army says that it has lost 10 soldiers, with another five missing.

It has not been possible to independently verify these claims.

The assault in the country’s Middle Shabelle region saw heavily armed fighters storm the al-Baraf base where Burundian forces, serving under the AU mission supporting the Somali government in its fight against al-Shabab, were stationed.

Local people reported hearing a loud bang followed by gunshots on the morning of the assault.

“The attack happened early Tuesday morning,” a member of the AU mission, who asked to remain anonymous, told the BBC. “Two vehicles filled with explosives entered the compound and a gunfight ensued. I don’t know the exact number of people killed but there were many casualties.”

The African Union has condemned what it called a “terrorist” attack.

AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahama, paid his respect to the Burundian soldiers killed in the deadly attack, saying “those lost will never be forgotten”.

In a statement, the AU said the attack would not lessen the work of the African Union Transition Mission In Somalia (ATMIS).

It added that it would continue to support the Somali government in its aim of achieving sustainable peace and security.

Mr Faki said he’d spoken to Burundi’s President, Évariste Ndayishimiye, to express his condolences.

Mr Ndayishimiye said there were no words strong enough to condemn the attack on Burundian soldiers.

The Burundi army said 10 of its peacekeepers in Somalia were killed in the attack and another five were missing. However, a high-ranking officer in the Burundian army told the AFP news agency that 30 of their soldiers had been killed and dozens more were unaccounted for.

ATMIS force spokesperson, Lt Col Daniel Mugoro Muiruri, told the BBC that most of the details about the attack were still being verified.

The AU does not normally release the death toll from al-Shabab attacks. –BBC/AFP

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