By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)
Residents say Somali armed group control AMISOM base in Janaale, but African Union insists its troops are in control, according to international news outlets.
The causality figure varies from source to source. The BBC reports Al-Shabab’s claim of 70 AU soldiers at the Janale base, 90km (55 miles) south-east of the capital.
Al Jazeera quotes Al Shabab sources that claim they had killed “scores” African Union troops. Xinhua has fatality figure of 50.
They said they counted the bodies of 20 AU soldiers and later they saw more troops arriving at the base after the militants had left with weapons.
An indication in favor of a higher magnitude of the losses suffered by AU could be sensed from the statement by AMISOM head Ambassador Maman Sidikou, who “commiserates with the government and people of Uganda on the losses suffered during this heinous attack.”
While the AU Janaale base had been abandoned, which is manned by Ugandan troops, AU says its forces are back in control, after taking a “tactical withdrawal”.
AMISOM’s statement is often seen with skepticism, especially after the massacre by Ugandan forces of invited guests at a wedding, which it denied it ever occurred.
It is not clear whether the attack against the base is reprisal for those killed at the wedding. They told the BBC Somali service that the Ugandan troops were seen leaving the base.
Residents said the attack started with a suicide car bombing at the base’s gate, followed by sustained gunfire which lasted more than an hour.