At least 50 African Union soldiers are believed to have been killed and another 50 are missing after Al-Shabaab militants overran a military camp in southern Somalia on Tuesday, according to Western military officials.
“It is assessed that at least 50 Amison troops died,” said a briefing note sent to diplomats by Western military officials and seen by AFP.
It said that in total around 100 soldiers were “unaccounted for” after the attack.
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda affiliate said the attack in Janale District, 80 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu in the Lower Shabelle region, was revenge for the killing of seven civilians by Ugandan troops at a wedding in the town of Merka in July.
Amisom has said the camp was manned by soldiers from Uganda.
The number feared dead matches that claimed by an Al-Shabaab spokesman.
Amisom has not yet counted the dead.
“Given the complex nature of the attack, Amisom is currently verifying the number of casualties and extent of the damage,” said a statement issued late Tuesday, more than 12 hours after the assault.
Western military sources said the attack began with the destruction of two bridges, cutting the camp off.
A suicide car bomber rammed the base followed by an estimated 200 Al-Shabaab fighters who overran the camp.
Amisom said its troops “undertook a tactical withdrawal” as the attack began.
Witnesses said Al-Shabaab took over the camp, looting weapons stores and loading corpses onto trucks.
The group has previously gathered the bodies of dead soldiers for use in propaganda videos of its attacks.
“They were collecting dead bodies, I saw nearly 30 soldiers killed during the fighting,” said local resident Hussein Idris.
The militants are fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 Amisom troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
Tuesday’s attack on the camp in Janale is one of the deadliest yet against Amisom troops.
A similar attack on a military outpost in Lego in June killed dozens of Burundian soldiers AFP.
Somaliland Head To Polls For Councillors And MPs On May 31, 2021 Last updated May 31, 2021
Voters in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland are heading to the polls on May, 31 to choose their member of parliament for the first time since 2005.
Somaliland broke off from mainland Somalia after the regime of Siad Barre in 1991.
The 5.2 Million citizens of Somaliland will be making yet another stab at global recognition as some 1.3 million voters head to the polls to choose 82 members of parliament and 247 local councils.
An election whose measure of democracy Somaliland hopes to use in its quest to certify its sovereignty.
Somaliland’s three political parties in the polls are opposition politicians Faisal Warabe’s UCID, Wadani led by another opposition leader Abdirahman Erye and President Muse Bihi Kulmiye party.
The elections is observed by over a hundred international observers including Uganda’s former opposition leader, Kizza Besigye and ex-president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Korma.
”Our visit to the headquarters of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission left us with a good impression about the Commission’s preparedness to conduct peaceful and credible elections,” said in a Twitter post.
The elections are taking place in six regions of Somaliland, namely Awdal, Sahil, Marodi-Jeeh, Toghdeer, Sanaag and Sool.
3 Somalia Regional States Say No To Farmaajo Term Extension.
The regional state leaders of Southwest, HirShabelle, and Galmudug allied with incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo have opposed to any form of extension on Tuesday evening.
In a joint statement Galmudug and HirShabelle called for dialogue based on 17 September pact.
“We agreed that the country should hold elections as soon as possible and that any form of extension should be abolished,” read part of the joint statement by HirShabelle and Galmudug.
Southwest leader Abdiaziz laftagaren also opposed the term extension of the President just an hour after Galmudug and HirShabelle released a joint statement.
The move by the three regional states allied to President was welcomed by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble who also instructed the military commanders to pull back forces to their locations and barracks.
“I would like to welcome the press statements made by Galmudug and HirShabelle federal states, ” PM Roboe said in a statement.
“I call on the FMS states of Puntland and Jubaland and Benadir region to fully commit to a peaceful process in our efforts to hold free and inclusive election, ” he added.
United Nations, United Kingdom, United States and opposition leaders including former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud commended the move by the regional states.
“The UN in Somalia noting statements by Qoorqqor, Ali Gudlawe, PM Roble and others recalls int’l partners position: consensus is vital for any electoral process; only 17 September model can be endorsed by FGS and all FMS; all parties must reject violence and resume dialogue, ” the United Nations said.
The development comes as families in some parts of Mogadishu fleed from their residences and moved to other district followings clashes.
Somali Gov’t Warns Al-Shabaab & ISIS Will Capitalize On SNA Faction Clashes.
Somali National Security Minister Hassan Hundubey has warned opposition groups to be wary of “unknown elements” including Al-Shabaab and Daesh who might seek to use the current crisis to inflict harm to the public.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday said that the government may take action to confront people with the “behaviour of militias” who are taking advantage of the situation.
“The government has enough troops to take control of the city. It is Ramadan, but more actions need to be taken to prevent it.” mr. Hundebey said.
”The reason the prime minister called for dialogue is that the government does not want the fighting to affect the residence,” he added.
The remarks by the interior minister come hours after the international partners strongly condemned the outbreak of violence in the capital.
“We are alarmed especially by the emerging fragmentation of the Somali National Army along clan lines, which detracts from its primary task of combating Al Shabab and protecting the Somali population. Use of security forces for the pursuit of political objectives is unacceptable” the statement read in part.
As tensions increase in Mogadishu following Sunday clashes between government soldiers and those who were against President Farmaajo’s two years term extension.