Kenyan troops among casualties in al-Shabab attack on AU base | News | DW | 15.01.2016
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Kenyan troops among casualties in al-Shabab attack on AU base

A spokesman for al-Shabab has claimed that the militant group's attack claimed the lives of 63 Kenyan troops. Kenya's president confirmed Kenyan troops were among the dead, but did not cite a death toll.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Friday that Kenyan troops stationed at an African Union (AU) military base in southwestern Somalia were killed when al-Shabab militants attacked in an early morning raid.

"Regrettably, some of our patriots in uniform paid the ultimate price," Kenyatta said in a statement.

While admitting that Kenyan troops were killed in the assault, Kenyatta did not cite a death toll for the attack.

"I want to take this opportunity to express mine and the country's deepest sympathy to the families and loved one of the fallen. I stand with you. Our country stands with you," Kenyatta added.

Meanwhile, Adbiaziz Abu Musab, a spokesman for the al-Qaeda-affiliated group, claimed that 63 Kenyan troops were killed in the attack.

"The mujahedeen fighters carried out a successful operation this morning on a military base at El-Adde, and they have killed many of the Christian soldiers from Kenya," Musab said in a statement, referring to the town where the base is located in Somalia.

"We have counted 63 dead bodies inside the base," Musab added.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISON) confirmed the attack via its Twitter account, stating it would provide an update to the situation "with factual details," in an apparent criticism of al-Shabab's account of the raid.

Somali army colonel Idris Ahmed said that the assault began with a militant blowing himself up to make an opening into the base.

"There was a suicide attack followed by the fighting, and it seems that the base was stormed," Ahmed said.

AMISOM has some 22,000 troops stationed in Somalia, where it has made significant gains against al-Shebab by driving them out of several strongholds in the country's southwestern regions.

In April 2015, the militant group staged an attack on a university in Garissa, killing 148 people.

ls/jil (AP, AFP, dpa)