Al Shabaab Attacks AU peacekeeping forces in Somalia

Armed Al Shabaab Islamic Extremists launched an ambush attack on a military convoy carrying Kenyan Army soldiers serving with the UN-mandated African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Tuesday.

Aden Osman, a resident has confirmed that the convoy came under heavy attack by Al Shabaab as they travelled from Dhobley and Tabta located in the Lower Jubba region, of southern Somalia.

The attack took place at the village of Hawina at around 12:00 PM local time. Kenyan soldiers fought off Al Shabaab fighters reportedly killing at least three militants and wounding ten others.

“The Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) were escorting a convoy of lorry trucks transporting military supplies to their army base at Tabta town at the time of the attack,” said Osman.

For their part, Al Shabaab has claimed its fighters killed several KDF soldiers in the attack and burnt out a vehicle in a roadside blast that struck the convoy before the gunfight broke out.

Militants were eventually pushed back by Kenyan troops. The KDF later proceeded in their journey to Tabta, which lies near Somali-Kenyan border.

Local residents have reported heavy gunfire and artillery shells being exchanged between the Al Shabaab attackers and Kenyan soldiers at Hawina village.

Kenya sent troops to neighboring Somalia in 2012 following a string of kidnappings and cross-border raids by, the Al Qaeda-linked, Al Shabaab militants.

The KDF are currently leading AMISOM’s sector two operations in Jubba and Gedo regions, where they are fighting against Al Shabaab militants who are waging nine-year insurgency in Somalia.

AMISOM which is made of 22,000 soldiers from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia have been operating in Somalia since 2007.

Omar Nor

A senior reporter in-the-field covering the vast East Africa region, focusing on  political issues including scenarios of conflict. Follow Omar on Twitter at @Omaar_nor