Al-Shabaab militants attack an African Union base in Somalia.

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 Al-Shabaab fighters  (CC: F.A Warsemeh)

Al-Shabaab fighters launched a deadly attack on an African Union military facility in Somalia on Friday. The fight resulted in significant deaths on both sides.

According to a statement released by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), militant fighters launched an attack on a forward operating base in Buulo Mareer, approximately 120 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu. The African Union reported that the assailants utilized Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices and deployed suicide bombers during the assault.

Unverified pictures of about a dozen Ugandan soldiers with their arms tied behind their backs were seen on Islamist media channels. The soldiers were said to have been seized by the militants.

The forward operating base, where the attack took place, is manned by soldiers from the Ugandan People’s Democratic Army who serve as a peacekeeping force.

On Friday, the spokesperson for Uganda’s Ministry of Defense took to Twitter and confirmed an attack on their troops stationed in Somalia by Al-Shabaab. The spokesperson stated that it was an early morning assault and that the Ministry of Defense was gathering additional information about the incident.

According to a captain from the Somali army, in the aftermath of the clashes, reinforcements from ATMIS and their allies successfully neutralized the weapons belonging to the Al-Shabaab militants.

According to a Somali army captain quoted by Reuters news agency, both sides endured significant casualties during the conflict. However, the exact number of fatalities remains unclear.

The attack on the African Union‘s forward operating base, which targeted Ugandan peacekeeping forces, was strongly condemned by the US State Department.

In a statement, the State Department expressed heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims, while also wishing a speedy recovery to those injured in the incident. The United States commended the bravery and selflessness of the troops involved in this vital mission. The State Department affirmed its solidarity with Somali and African Union partners in the collective effort to combat terrorism and promote peace and stability for the people of Somalia.

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