Al-Shabaab Militants Target African Union BaseSeptember 2, 2015 in Somalia
Al-Shabaab militants have overrun an African Union (AU) military base in southern Somalia, with officials reporting that they inflicted heavy casualties.
According to sources, at least 50 AU soldiers are believed to have been killed and another 50 have been reported missing after al-Shabaab militants overran a military camp in southern Somalia on Tuesday 1 September. A statement issued late Tuesday, more than 12 hours after the assault, indicated “given the complex nature of the attack, AMISOM is currently verifying the number of casualties and the extent of the damage.” The attack, which saw the militants target the camp in Janale, located 80 kilometres (50 miles) southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region and manned by Ugandan troops, now ranks as one of the deadliest yet against AMISOM troops.
Sources have reported that the attack began with the destruction of two bridges, which cut the camp off. A suicide car bomber rammed the base and was followed by an estimated 200 al-Shabaab fighters who overran the camp. AMISOM has indicated that its troops “undertook a tactical withdrawal” as the attack began. A briefing note disclosed that they soldiers did not have any air support as “low cloud and landing restrictions prevented air support by UN contracted support helicopters.” The note further disclosed that Kenyan and Ethiopian jets as well as US drones “were unavailable at the time of the attack” while AMISOM tanks and artillery located in Janale had been redeployed elsewhere.
Al-Shabaab, which has recently lost a string of key bases in the face of an AMISOM offensive, indicated that the attack was revenge for the killing of seven civilians by Ugandan troops at a wedding in the town of Merka in July.