The AU mission has yet to confirm the number of casualties, although al-Shabab claims to have killed 137 soldiers.
Al-Shabab fighters attacked a military base housing Ugandan forces from the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to the contingent from the East African country and a Somali captain.
Rebels on Friday attacked the base belonging to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in Bulamarer, 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
“There was an attack this morning on our base… by al-Shabab elements, but we are waiting for an official communication from ATMIS headquarters,” Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) deputy spokesman Deo said. Akiiki.
ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, was assessing the security situation, he said on Twitter, without elaborating. The mission has been assisting the Somali federal government in its war against the al-Qaeda-linked armed group since 2022 when it replaced the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Meanwhile, al-Shabab claimed in a statement that it carried out suicide bombing attacks, killing 137 soldiers.
There was no immediate official confirmation of the casualties and the group tends to give figures that differ from those issued by the authorities.
A Somali captain who gave his name as Abdullahi told Reuters news agency from the Lower Shabelle region that rebels attacked an ATMIS base and an adjacent one belonging to the Somali army.
“That sparked a fierce battle for hours. All groups, including al-Shabab, suffered heavy casualties,” he said, without elaborating.
Residents of the town said they woke up to the sounds of large explosions and heavy weapons. “Now we see al-Shabab in the city. We cannot know how many died. We are not hearing any shots from ATMIS and the government now,” said resident Rukia Farah.
Since 2006, the group has been fighting to overthrow the government and establish its own government based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Last August, an intensive government offensive began after the electoral victory of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and made significant progress in eroding the group’s control over vast swaths of land.
But al-Shabab is still capable of launching significant attacks against government, commercial and military targets. It is also launching intermittent attacks in neighboring Kenya as part of retaliation for sending troops from Nairobi to support the rebel pushback from Mogadishu.
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