After the militant group al-Shabaab had UN soldiers killed, Somalia’s ambassador in the United Nations, Nicholas Kay, strongly condemned the attack which killed 50 African Union troops.
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According to the Express Tribune, is it believed that al-Shabaab briefly managed to seize control of an African Union base. Witnesses of the attack say a suicide car bomb preceded the attack, although the African Union reports it was able to fend off the attack successfully.
“The base is still under AMISOM control, reports that the base has been taken over and our weapons captured are false. Although our troops undertook a tactical withdrawal following the initial vehicle-borne explosive attack, they have since consolidated and regained full control of the base,” a statement from the A.U. force in Somalia claimed.
Some reports claim the siege led to the deaths of 20 UN soldiers, but al-Shabaaab is claiming the number of UN soldiers killed in Somalia was closer to 50 troops.
“This attack was aimed to retaliate against the killing of innocent civilians in Merka by the Ugandan troops,” said Abdulaziz Abu Musab, an al-Shabaab spokesman. The al-Qaida-linked group also claimed they had “taken complete control of the town and the military camp as well and looted all the heavy weaponry.”
In describing the attack which had the UN soldiers killed, Somali Prime Minister Sharmarke described the actions of the al-Qaida-linked group as being cowardly.
“We condemn the barbaric attack by those who oppose peace and stability on AMISOM peacekeepers of Uganda contingent and I sent my sincere condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in that attack. I also share my sorrow with the people and government of Uganda,” Sharmarke said, according to Xinhua. We are determined to pursue our primary goal which is to wipe out the remaining small terrorist group who are geared to killing and maiming innocent people from the little pockets they are in the country.”
Local resident Hussein Idris did not know the exact number of UN soldiers killed, but he claims to have seen “nearly 30 soldiers killed during the fighting.” Idris claims the locals began looting the United Nations base after al-Shabaab won the battle, and it is claimed the bodies of the dead soldiers were gathered together to be used in propaganda videos.
[Image via CCTV Africa]