The AU backed force in Somalia, AMISOM has refuted claims that dozens of its soldiers were killed in an early morning attack on its military base in Janale.
In a rejoinder on its Twitter account, AMISOM said reports that the base had been overrun by Al-Shabaab militants and weapons carted off were not true. “AMISOM can confirm that the base is still under AMISOM control. Reports that the base has been taken over and our weapons captured are false,” read the statement.
AMISOM did not however comment on the casualties despite reports that a number of its soldiers had been killed in a morning attack. A Somali military official Captain Bilow Idow told Reuters the base had been cut off after miliants destroyed the only bridge linking the base for any outside reinforcement.
“No reinforcement can reach there,” Idow said. “There is much death and damage.”
Reports earlier on said that up to 50 AMISOM soldiers had been killed though Goobjoog News could not independently verify this.
A resident, Ahmed Olow who spoke to Reuters said they heard a huge explosion near the military base in the wee hours of the morning but could not get further information on what happened next.
“After morning prayers we heard a big explosion followed by heavy gunfire in the AMISOM base. We do not have further details as we are indoors,” said Olow.
In June Al-Shabaab similarly launched ambush on an AMISOM base in Lego, Lower Shabelle region claiming to have killed 30 soldiers. An Amisom spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Njuguna, confirmed that an attack and gun battle had taken place but could not provide any casualty figures.
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the Janale military base attack.