A search and rescue operation is underway in Somalia, Kenyan authorities said on Monday, after the attack by Somali Islamist Al Shabaab at a camp in Somalia, in which an unknown number of Kenyan soldiers died.
“We launched a search operation, rescue and recovery is a priority,” said Kenya’s military chief Samson Mwathethe in Nairobi. “Our troops face the terrorists.”
Kenya has not communicated the death toll of the attack, while the Al Shabaab, affiliated with al Qaeda, claimed in a statement Sunday that more than a hundred Kenyan soldiers were killed and some captured.
We launched a search operation. Rescue and recovery is our priority.
“The mujahedeen fighters (…) killed more than 100 Kenyan invaders, We have taken over their weapons and military vehicles and even captured alive Kenyan soldiers,” the statement said.
Somali Islamist websites claim that 12 Kenyan soldiers were captured.
But the numbers are difficult to verify independently. Al Shabaab are known to exaggerate the balances of their operations while the African union force, whose soldiers are fighting under the AMISOM umnbrella, often downplays the precise number of victims in its ranks.
A contingent of about 150 Kenyan soldiers were in the base of El-Adde.
Sunday, four wounded soldiers were repatriated in the Kenyan capital. This is the third attack by al Shabaab militia on an AMISOM base in this region in six months.
Islamists attacked a Burundian army camp late June based in Lego and a Ugandan camp in janale, two locations in Lower Shabelle region leaving dozens of soldiers dead.