News24

Mogadishu massacre - 70 AU troops killed

2011-10-20 23:21

Mogadishu - Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab rebels displayed "over 70" dead bodies outside Mogadishu on Thursday, which they claimed were African Union peacekeepers killed in battle.

If verified, it would be the worst massacre and largest single defeat that the AU force in Mogadishu has suffered in some four years of bloody battles defending the weak Western-backed government against the hardline Shabaab.

"We have killed more than 70 of the enemy soldiers today... We have inflicted heavy losses on them and you can see their dead bodies," Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said, displaying the bodies in the dust to reporters.

Angry crowds dragged some of the bodies across the ground, witnesses said.

Photographs show long lines of at least 20 bodies dressed in military uniform laid out in the sand, surrounded by a large crowd with their faces covered.

Witnesses confirmed that the dead bodies were displayed in the extremist Shabaab-controlled Alamada area, some 18km outside the war-torn capital late on Thursday, and that the bodies were not Somalis.

"I have seen the largest number of soldiers killed in a battle, I have counted 63 Burundian soldiers, all of them dead, the Shabaab brought them on trucks to Alamada," Hasan Yunus, a witness said.

"Some of the dead bodies were dragged along by angry residents - I could not count them exactly, but there were more than 60," said Ahmed Jama, another witness.

Burundian

African Union Mission for Somalia (Amisom) troops and government forces have been pushing into remaining rebel areas in Mogadishu, after the bulk of the Shabaab abandoned fixed positions in August.

Burundian troops with the 9 000 strong Amisom force control the sector closest to the fighting and are believed to have led the assault.

Ugandan soldiers make up the bulk of the AU force and control other sections of the anarchic capital.

Despite their pullout from much from the capital, the Shabaab have not wavered from their aim to topple the AU-protected government. They still control large swathes of southern and central Somalia, and remain a serious security threat.

Shabaab fighters in southern Somalia are also facing assaults from Kenyan troops and tanks backed by air strikes since Nairobi declared war on the insurgents and confirmed it had moved its forces into Somalia on Sunday.

Kenya's military said on Thursday it had seized the coastal area of Ras Kamboni without a fight, a former Shabaab stronghold just across the Somali border, said military spokesperson Major Emmanuel Chirchir.

Inland, Chirchir said Kenyan troops were bogged down by "heavy rains" some 100km inside Somalia, as they prepared to push forward to seize the town of Afmadow, where Somali government forces were fighting.

Nairobi's unprecedented military incursion into Somalia, which it said had already killed dozens of Shabaab fighters, has triggered warnings of bloody retaliation by the Shabaab.

The Shabaab deny involvement in a spate of attacks and abductions from Kenya - including that of a disabled French woman who died in captivity - that Nairobi says prompted its offensive.

Guerrilla tactics

In Somalia, there has been a series of suicide bombings in the capital since the Shabaab rebels said they were abandoning face-to-face battles and switching to guerrilla tactics in the city instead.

Earlier this month, a suicide bomber exploded a truck laden with explosives, killing at least 82 people and wounding many more.

But the deaths in Mogadishu Thursday provide a grim warning suggesting that the Shabaab remain a powerful military threat.

Shamso Abdulkadir was amongst the giant crowd who came to see the dead bodies, and said that some wore body armour and helmets.

"I have counted 70, most of them were shot in the head and shoulders," Abdulakdir told AFP.

"Residents gathered to watch the dead bodies after they were publicly displayed, and then afterwards, they were dragged about by people," she said.

Somali government and Amisom officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Heavy fighting was reported in the northwest Deynile district throughout Thursday, but Somali government officials had earlier said they were moving alongside AU troops "towards the final strongholds of the terrorist militants".

Battles began before dawn in Mogadishu as AU-backed Somali forces advanced on holdout Islamist Shabaab positions, officials and witnesses said.

The fighting was cantered in Deynile suburb, a remaining pocket still held by the al-Qaeda linked militants, which borders the rebel-held Afgoye, the world's largest camp for displaced people.

Comments
  • cosmos.ndebele - 2011-10-20 23:33

    What the fu.....ck is going on in the world?

      GARBADGEDAY - 2011-10-21 00:38

      welcome to africa

      Reshan - 2011-10-21 07:31

      The same thing that has been happening since the dawn of men, Greed, the want for unneeded power and using anything (religion, fear, business..) to get it ALL! In 3rd world they use war/violence in 1st world they drain the wealth of the world collecting more then they'll ever use and buy the power.

  • Oboa - 2011-10-20 23:34

    Bomb the country. Put them out of their misery.

      Terry-Louise - 2011-10-21 00:32

      PLEASE DON'T BOMB THEM!!! ...not yet! My uncle and his partner are being held HOSTAGE in Somalia!!! we need to get them HOME! www.sosbrunodebbie.co.za PLEASE HELP US SAVE THE HOSTAGES!!!

      sibusiso.mpofu1 - 2011-10-21 00:58

      Instead of supporting more violence that breeds even more carnage, we rather put pressure on the local Somali population to tell their brothers to free our citizens. Brother's keepers, yeah!! Let's bring them home, ALIVE!!!

      Leon - 2011-10-21 05:21

      Wake up AU yOU ARE NOT THERE FOR A PARTY Do the job properly or get out

  • Peter - 2011-10-20 23:34

    Repulsive.

  • Martin - 2011-10-21 00:21

    Glad our SA Defence force was not there otherwise the death toll would have exceed 70!!

      Dirk - 2011-10-21 05:39

      With about 80% of our "defense force" being HIV, they dont need outsiders to kill them- they do it on their own.

      TheRock - 2011-10-21 08:53

      What defence force are you talking about? The Salvation Army?

  • Harvey - 2011-10-21 00:34

    KILLING, KILLING and more KILLING. Humans are so FREAKEN SICK!

      christo.stone - 2011-10-21 07:13

      Agreed...sickening thought.

      TheRock - 2011-10-21 07:39

      Sick to you but not sick to them....that's their culture and way of dealing with differences. You gotta let them get on with what they do...leave them to their own fate. Who cares about these rif rafs?

  • Grant - 2011-10-21 00:52

    I can't make sense of this report. There are just too many questions : -Why no announcement from the AU? -70 odd supposedly AU troops killed, put into trucks and transported about. What were the other AU troops doing at the time? -The rebels must have one hell of a lot of arms, how did they get them? -9000 AU troops. What would be the situation if it had been the 1980s and 1000 SADF troops had been sent in...?

      bonifaceg - 2011-10-21 01:22

      Point 1: The AU are too ashamed to speak Point 2: The AU teams are poorly trained, probably in too-small-packs, and not motivated Point 3:Historically. They have been amassing illegal weapons under the guise of culture - every man must be armed. Point 4: 1000 SADF troops would well have taken the WHOLE country - In Africa, fight like an African. Be well.

      ian.bosch - 2011-10-21 08:26

      BOniface I take it you are referring to the proud OLD SADF not he new circus referred to and called the SANDF. they couldnt kill un uprising of rabid township dogs ..

  • mmunzwembiri - 2011-10-21 02:04

    Somalia is cursed famine, war, suicide and terror. The government should just let these guys take charge, besides the country is just a barren, unfertile, dusty, waterless piles of sand surviving under immense 120'C.

      ian.bosch - 2011-10-21 08:28

      dont worry man, soon SA will be nothing more than all the things you have just mentioned mate... well done africa.. and the ANC..

  • steven.m.armour - 2011-10-21 06:23

    maybe we should have left Africa undiscovered.just bypassed it completely.

  • Sharon - 2011-10-21 06:29

    @cosmos.ndebele "What the fu.....ck is going on in the world?" Religion Greed Power A quote from my favourite author, George Orwell, from his book 1984. The real power is not power over things, but over men.'How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?', Winston thought. 'By making him suffer,' he said.'Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how else can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own?.

  • Mkulisi - 2011-10-21 08:55

    Its now or never for the AU its time for the so called 'African solution' do we also need NATO to help us to kill these bastards.

  • AbuNaasirudiin - 2011-10-21 10:06

    We Somalis know how to massacre invaders and Mugadishu is notorious of dead foreigners dragged around. but this is one of the deadly days these african merceneries meet daily. but the media can not cover the truth so they try to hide the lose of these mercenaries. the worst is for the Burundian people as they are not told the death of their sons.

  • Emily - 2011-10-21 12:23

    It seems Kenyan troops are giving these Al Shabaab a beating.They Killed 105 yesterday and they have vowed to take on Kismayu and flaush out all Al shabaab and Pirates from the Somalia Coastline.......thanks to their AIR POWER and Advance Tanks and Armoured carriers....much better than what the Burundian and Ugandan's are using

      Myth - 2011-10-22 00:11

      My land is Kenya.. some of my cousins on the wife's side are in the military here and these guys are good edging toward being on a par with the real old SADF parabats and armoured infantry, thanks to some really good training (UK Para battalions rotate through here) and useful equipment. No doubt they will still have lessons to learn though. Although peaceful and peace loving, the economic existence (tourism) is under threat from these Shebab idiots so something must be done.

  • Clement - 2011-10-21 12:54

    THIS IS UNACEPTABLE. ARE THESE SOLDERS GIVEN A PROPER TRAINING OR NOT.JUST PERISHING FOR A COUNTRY WITH POISONOUS SOIL,I THINK (UN) CAN DO A BETTER JOB TO ENGULF THESE PARASITES WHO CHANGES TO PIRATES.

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