Al-Shabab seizes African Union base in Somalia
Written by Taiwo Adediran on January 15, 2016
Al-Shabab militants have overrun an African Union military base outside the southern Somali town of el-Ade. The Islamist group says it has taken “complete control” of the AU camp and killed more than 60 Kenyan soldiers.
Residents said al-Shabab had raised its flag at a camp for Kenyan troops and said insurgents had paraded bodies through the town. But Kenya’s army spokesman said it was a nearby Somali base that was stormed and Kenyan troops counter-attacked.
The number of casualties on both sides was not known, Kenyan military spokesman Col David Obonyo said in a statement
Kenya contributes more than 4,000 troops to the 22,000-strong AU force that is in Somalia helping the UN-backed government battle al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda.
An al-Shabab official said its fighters had attacked the base after morning prayers, starting with a car bomb before storming the facility. He said the militants were confiscating 28 of 31 military vehicles inside the camp and all arms and ammunition.
The two military bases – one for Somali troops and the other for AU soldiers – neighbour each other on the outskirts of el-Ade, which is in Gedo region, about 380km (240 miles) west of Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab was ousted from the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011, but still has a presence in large areas of southern Somalia and often stages attacks across the country.