More than 30 African Union peacekeepers were killed when al-Shabaab militants attacked Leego base in southern Somalia on Friday, the Islamist group said in a statement broadcast on its radio station, Radio Andalus.
The United Nations-backed force, known as the African Union Mission in Somalia, confirmed the attack took place and that it affected Burundian soldiers. Amisom, as the mission is referred to, didn’t provide more details about the casualties.
The attackers used a car bomb to break through the fence of the base, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) from the capital, Mogadishu, before soldiers opened fire, Feytan Omar, an officer with the Somali army who witnessed the attack, said by phone.
Al-Shabaab is trying to overthrow the Western-backed government in Somalia and establish a strict version of Islamic law. The group carries out frequent gun and grenade attacks even after losing control of large chunks of territory to African Union security personnel, which consists of more than 22,000 troops and police from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone. Burundi has 5,432 AU forces in Somalia.