Al-Shabaab says it has killed 173 AU troops in Somalia base attack

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Al-Qeada-aligned militant group Al-Shabaab on Tuesday launched a dawn attack on a base housing Burundi’s African Union peacekeepers in the town of El-baraf in Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region as the Horn of Africa nation celebrates the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr festivities.

Militants used a vehicle packed with explosives to blast their way into the base and exchanged heavy gunfire with AU garrisons before overrunning them and taking control of the military camp, the group’s officials told affiliated media.

Al-Shabaab media reported that equipment left behind by overpowered Burundian soldiers had been distributed to residents, who had also allegedly taken part in the assault, a claim which has yet to be confirmed by local authorities.

Photos released by the group showed dead bodies of Burundian soldiers, and armored and military vehicles seized from the AU troops. Scenes of civilians looting the base could also be seen after insurgents took full control of the area.

Al-Shabaab said it had killed 173 African Union peacekeepers in the attack and had taken a number of others prisoners, with many more wounded. ATMIS has not yet officially discussed the extent of casualties its forces suffered in Tuesday’s assault.

Local media reports indicated that ATMIS troops shelled El-baraf hours after insurgents had taken its control. But there were no immediate reports of casualties on local civilians.

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