MOGADISHU – Agence France-Presse
Islamist al-Shabaab fighters attacked a Kenyan military base in southern Somalia
on Jan. 27 in the second assault by the al-Qaeda linked group this week.
The attack on the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) base at Kolbiyow, close to the Kenyan border in Somalia’s Lower Juba region, began with suicide truck bombers blasting their way into the camp, followed by militants attacking from different directions.
Al-Shabaab claimed in a statement to have overrun the base, captured military vehicles and equipment and to have killed 57 Kenyan soldiers.
“Fighters have taken control of the base and the overall Kolbiyow area after massacring the Kenyan infidels,” the statement said.
KDF spokesman Paul Njuguna denied the al-Shabaab claims and said Kenyan soldiers had fought back, killing many of the Islamists.
Njuguna said Kenyan soldiers “fiercely engaged an al-Shabaab group which had attempted to attack the camp” before dawn.
“KDF soldiers repulsed the terrorists killing scores,” he said, but did not give any figure for Kenyan casualties.
Al-Shabaab frequently overstates the death toll from its attacks while Kenya commonly underplays its losses.
In January last year a Kenyan base at el-Adde was attacked and overrun by al-Shabaab fighters who claimed to have killed over 100 Kenyan soldiers. The government refused to give its own toll.
Al-Shabaab, which once controlled much of Somalia, is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu.