Although al-Shabab claimed to have killed 137 soldiers, AMIS has yet to confirm the number of casualties.
Al-Shabab militants attacked a military base of the Ugandan troops of the African Union peacekeeping operation in Somalia, according to the East African national contingent and a Somali captain.
On Friday, insurgents attacked the base of the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in Brahmar, 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
“Our base was attacked by Al-Shabab elements this morning, but we are awaiting official news from ATMIS headquarters,” said Deo Akiiki, deputy spokesman for the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF).
ATMIS, which has 22,000 troops, was assessing the security situation, it said on Twitter, without giving details. Since replacing the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in 2022, the mission has been assisting the federal government of Somalia in its fight against Al Qaeda-linked armed groups.
Meanwhile, al-Shabaab claimed in a statement that it carried out a suicide bombing that killed 137 soldiers.
Officials did not immediately confirm the number of casualties, and the group tends to provide figures that differ from those released by authorities.
A Somali captain who identified himself as Abdullahi told Reuters in the Lower Shabelle region that rebels had attacked an ATMIS base and an adjacent base belonging to the Somali army.
“This sparked hours of intense fighting. All groups, including al-Shabaab, suffered heavy casualties,” he said, without giving further details.
Residents of the town said they woke up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons. “Now we see al-Shabab in the town. We have no way of knowing how many people died. We are not hearing anything from ATMIS and the government now,” said resident Rukia Farah.
Since 2006, the group has been working to overthrow the government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
Following the election victory of President Hassan Sheikh Mohammed in August last year, the government launched an intensive offensive and made significant progress in weakening the group’s control over large tracts of land.
But al-Shabaab remains capable of launching major attacks against government, commercial and military targets. It has also intermittently launched attacks in neighboring Kenya as part of retaliation for Nairobi sending troops to support a rebel counterattack in Mogadishu.