Al-Shabaab target Mogadishu AU military base

Fighters from Somalia’s al-Shabaab Islamist group attacked a pro-government military base in Mogadishu on Saturday, using two suicide bombers disguised as government soldiers, officials said.

Both sides however gave conflicting reports on the operation.

The African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu (Amisom) issued a statement saying AU troops had “beaten off an attack by al-Qaeda linked terrorists on one of their positions in the outskirts of the city.

“During the failed attack, the suicide bombers blew themselves, but the extremists were unable to take control of the Amisom position.”

The statement did not indicate the number of casualties.

The al-Shabaab rebels claimed to have “stormed the Amisom compound, killing 80 Ugandan soldiers”, in a battle that lasted over two hours, their statement said.

Uganda and Burundi provide the 9 000 soldiers that currently comprise the AU mission in Somalia, which is tasked with defending the fragile interim government from the insurgents.

Al-Shabaab, who control large swathes of territory in south and central Somalia, withdrew from their positions in Mogadishu in early August following a government offensive launched in February.

They have claimed credit for a series of bombings since, including an October 4 blast at a government complex that killed 82 — the deadliest single attack ever committed in Mogadishu. — AFP

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