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Kenyan troops killed as al-Shabab targets African Union base in Somalia

Published 15/01/2016

Newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in Lafofe (AP)
Newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in Lafofe (AP)

Islamic extremist rebels have attacked a base for African Union troops in south-western Somalia, with dozens of Kenyan soldiers reported to be killed.

The al-Shabab militant group said at least 63 soldiers were killed, and Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta described the loss as heartbreaking.

A Kenyan military statement said the Kenyans helped Somali forces counter-attack.

The attack happened in the town of El-Ade, not far from the Kenyan border. Kenya has provided a major contingent to the AU force which is fighting al-Shabab and assisting the elected government of Somalia.

Al-Shabab spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Mudan said on the group's online radio that at least 63 soldiers were killed in the attack.

Ahmed Hassan, speaking from the nearby town of Elwak, said the attack started with a suicide car bomb, and then heavy gunfire as militants stormed into the base.

Despite being pushed out of Somalia's major cities and towns, al-Shabab continues to launch deadly attacks across the Horn of Africa country.

The group, which has ties with al Qaida, has also carried out many deadly attacks inside Kenya.

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