Many Dead as Al-Shabaab Attacks African Peacekeepers in Somalia

Many Feared Dead as Al Shabaab Attacks African Peacekeepers in Somalia (News Central TV)

Al-Shabaab rebels on Friday attacked a military camp holding Ugandan peacekeeping personnel from the African Union mission in Somalia, killing many.

A base for the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) was targeted by insurgents in Bulamarer, 130 kilometres (80 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.

“There was an attack this morning at our base… by elements of al-Shabaab but we are waiting for official communication from ATMIS headquarters,” said Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) deputy spokesman Deo Akiiki.

The federal government of Somalia has received help from ATMIS in its fight against the militants. Without giving further specifics, the mission stated on Twitter that it was evaluating the security situation.

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In a statement, Al-Shabaab asserted that it had carried out suicide bombing strikes that claimed the lives of 137 soldiers.

The number of fatalities was not immediately confirmed by the authorities, and the group frequently provides estimates that are different from those provided by the authorities.

According to a Somali military captain who identified himself only as Abdullahi and spoke to Reuters from the Lower Shabelle region, the militants assaulted an ATMIS base and a nearby one that belonged to the Somali military.

“That prompted a fierce battle for hours. All groups including al Shabaab suffered heavy casualties,” he said.

Residents of the town said they woke up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons.

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“Now we see al Shabaab in the town. We cannot know how many died. We are not hearing any shots from ATMIS and government now,” local resident Rukia Farah said.

The militants group has been battling to overthrow the government since 2006 in order to impose its own rigid interpretation of Islamic law.

The group’s influence over wide swaths of land has been eroding since last year due to government resistance. However, it is still capable of carrying out massive attacks on military, commercial, and governmental targets.

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