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Al-Shabab: Military base seized in Somalia; 63 peacekeepers dead

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   Jan. 15, 2016 at 7:16 AM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab said it overran an African Union military base in Somalia on Friday, killing 63 Kenyan soldiers.

Radio Andulus, a pro-militant, Internet-based radio station in the Somali capital of Mogadishu reported the attack on the base, near the town of El-Adde. Eyewitnesses said they saw the al-Shabab flag hoisted within the base and bodies paraded through the streets. The base is 240 miles west of Mogadishu.

The 54-member African Union has, since 2007, organized a peacekeeping force to stabilize Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since a civil war and a 1991 overthrow. The military force, called the African Union Mission to Somalia, or AMISOM, includes a force of 22,000 peacekeepers from Kenya, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda and Djibouti.

Although al-Shabab is notorious for exaggerating its successes, Amisom confirmed "an attack on our troops in El-Adde," as did Kenyan Defense Forces spokesman David Obonyo. Neither offered a count of casualties.

The attack demonstrates that although AMISOM has pushed al-Shabab from several parts of Somalia, including Mogadishu, it still lacks full control of the country. The attack Friday follows two in 2015 in which dozens of soldiers from Burundi and Uganda were killed.

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