Somali militant group al-Shabaab launched a deadly assault on an African Union troops’ military camp in Southern Somalia, one year after their former leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in a U.S. drone airstrike.
The raid started with suicide bombers driving cars loaded with explosives into the entrance of the base in Janale town of lower Shebelle region, before dozens of militants armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades began their assault in the early morning hours of Tuesday.
The military base is manned by Uganda soldiers who are part of the 22,000 strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
In June, a similar attack by the al-Qaeda-linked extremists in the remote-village of Leego left at least 50 Burundian peacekeepers dead.
Residents of Janale told Horseed Media that they could hear sounds of heavy weapons.
A spokesman from the extremist group has said that they have taken control of the base and killed over 50 peacekeepers but that has not been confirmed.
The area is off-limits to journalists, making it impossible to independently verify the exact numbers and identity the dead.
In September last year, U.S drones killed former al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and other senior officials of the group in the same region.
The al-Qaeda-linked extremists remain dangerous, unpredictable and bold, known for audacious and chilling attacks. Their fighters routinely target the Somali government in Mogadishu. The group has also sought to terrorize neighboring Kenya.
The group’s latest attack reflects on diminished power against the African Union and Somali government when they were unable to initiate massive counterattack. As compared with control of“half of the country”at the height of Al-Shabaab’s power, the territory under the group’s control since the beginning of 2013 is very small.