Somalia's al-Qaeda militants kill dozens of Kenyan troops

Somalia's al-Qaeda militants kill dozens of Kenyan troops
2 min read
15 January, 2016
Al-Shabab militants say they have launched a raid on an African Union army post in southwestern Somalia, killing 63 Kenyan troops. Nairobi have denied the claims.
Al-Shabab have launched a counter-offensive after African Union advances [AFP]

Al-Qaeda linked militants in Somalia have claimed dozens of Kenyan troops have been killed a raid on an African Union base in southwestern Somalia.

Al-Shabab military spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Mudan told the group's online radio that at least 63 soldiers had were left dead in the assault.

The attack took place on the the Kenyan base in al-Ade early Friday morning, BBC reported.

"It was carried out by our special brigade, which deals with Kenya attacks," al-Shabab told the BBC.

It started with a car bomb, then our fighters stormed the base. We took control of the base after one hour of fierce fighting, and we are still in full control no matter what the Somali government says.

The source said that al-Shabab took arms, ammunition and 28 vehicles with them from the base.

A BBC reporter said that he saw chaos at the scene and Kenyan troops fleeing the Islamist rebels.

But the Kenyan military have denied their troops were targeted.

A military spokesperson said those killed were Somali government soldiers stationed close to the African Union base.

Nairobi said that the Kenyans troops from the African Union contingent helped the Somali force launch a counter-attack against the Islamist fighters and the battle in continuing.

That statement said the casualty toll is unknown.

Al-Shabab is said to have as many as 9,000 fighters and took control of much of Somalia during the anarchic years of the past decade. It includes many foreign fighters.

They have been pushed back by an African Union led force with around 4,000 Kenyan troops in recent years, but are still a potent force in the country.

Al-Shabab adhere to a strict form of Wahhabi doctrine unlike the majority Sufi population who practice a more liberal form of Islam.

Kenya has also been rocket by violence from al-Shabab cells.