Somali President: Al Qaeda-Linked Al-Shabaab Killed 200 Kenyan Soldiers Last Month

Somali President: Al Qaeda-Linked Al-Shabaab Killed 200 Kenyan Soldiers Last Month
Thu Feb 25, 2016 21:35:00

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud says as many as 200 Kenyan soldiers had been killed when the Takfiri al-Shabaab militants attacked an African Union base in the country last month.

President Mohamud said during an interview with a Somali TV channel that nearly 200 Kenyan troops lost their lives when al-Shabaab militants attacked the base in the town of El Adde in the southwestern Gedo region in mid January.

"When about 200 soldiers who came to help your country are killed in one morning, it is not something trivial," the Somali president said, adding, "We have been winning for years and months but that El Adde battle, we were defeated. Yes, in war, sometimes something that you do not like happens to you."

Meanwhile, Kenya Defense Forces spokesman, Colonel David Obonyo, said, "It is not true. This information never came from us or anyone in the government of Kenya."

However, al-Shabaab claimed to have killed more than 100 Kenyan troops during the deadly assault. The militant group also distributed photos purporting to show the bodies of dozens of Kenyan soldiers, many apparently shot in the head.

The militant attack also increased the disquiet from ordinary Kenyans and the opposition alike over Kenya's continued presence in Somalia.

Moreover, hundreds of civilians have been killed in al-Shabaab attacks inside Kenya over the past two years. The deadly attacks inside Kenya have included a raid by militants on a university in Garissa in 2015 and an assault on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in 2013.

Kenyan forces form part of the the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) contingent, along with troops from Ethiopia, Burundi, Uganda and Djibouti. The mission is estimated to have lost at least 1,100 troops since 2009.

The African Union Mission has deployed about 22,000 peacekeepers to help Somali government forces stabilize the country.

The African country has been the scene of clashes between government forces and al-Shabaab fighters since 2006. Somalia did not have an effective central government from 1991 to 2012, when lawmakers elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president.

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