Al-Shabaab attacks AU base in Somalia, dozens killed

Fighters from the al-Shabaab group have attacked a base for African Union peacekeepers in southwestern Somalia, blasting their way into the compound and exchanging fire with peacekeepers, a Somali military official said.

Dozens of al-Shabaab fighters on Friday assaulted the military base, which is run by Kenyan troops who are part of the AU force in the town of El-Ade, not far from the Kenyan border, Ahmed Hassan told AP news agency by phone from Elwak, a town near the scene of the latest attack.

The attack started with a suicide car bomb, and then heavy gunfire was heard as fighters stormed into the base, he said.

Fighting is still going on inside the base, he said. He had no details about any casualties.

Al-Shabaab reported on its online radio station that its fighters had managed to penetrate the base and were fighting African Union troops

The group say they have killed dozens of Kenyan troop.

Al-Shabaab military spokesperson Abdiaziz Abu Mudan told the group's online radio that at least 63 soldiers had been killed in the attack.

But the Kenyan military said in a statement that the rebels had attacked Somali government soldiers who were stationed near the African Union base run by the Kenyan contingent. The statement also said that the Kenyans had then helped the Somalis to launch a counter-attack against the rebels and fighting is ongoing.

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