Al-Shabab attacks AU peacekeeping base in Somalia | News from the African Union
The AU mission has yet to confirm casualties, although al-Shabab claims to have killed 137 soldiers.
Al-Shabab fighters have attacked a military base housing Ugandan troops from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to the East African country’s contingent and a Somali captain.
The rebels on Friday attacked the base of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in Bulamarer, 130 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
“There was an attack on our base this morning… by elements of al-Shabab, but we are awaiting official communication from ATMIS headquarters,” Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) deputy spokesman Deo Akiiki said.
ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, was assessing the security situation, it said on Twitter, without providing details. The mission has been assisting the Somali Federal Government in its war against the al-Qaeda-affiliated armed group since 2022, when it replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Meanwhile, al-Shabab has claimed in a statement that it carried out suicide bombings, killing 137 soldiers.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the victims and the group tends to give numbers that differ from those provided by the authorities.
A Somali captain who gave his name Abdullahi told Reuters news agency from the Lower Shabelle region that the rebels had attacked an ATMIS base and an adjacent Somali army base.
“That led to a fierce battle that lasted for hours. All groups, including al-Shabab, suffered heavy casualties,” he said, without giving further details.
Residents of the city said they woke up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons. “Now we see al-Shabab in the city. We cannot know how many died. We are now not hearing shots from ATMIS and the government,” said resident Rukia Farah.
Since 2006, the group has been fighting to overthrow the government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
An intense government offensive began last August following President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s electoral victory and has made significant progress in eroding the group’s control over vast tracts of land.
But al-Shabab is still capable of launching significant attacks against governmental, commercial and military targets. It is also intermittently launching attacks in neighboring Kenya as part of reprisals for Nairobi sending troops to support Mogadishu’s pushback of the rebels.