Al Shabaab has claimed it has killed about 60 Ethiopian soldiers in an attack on the African Union Mission (AMISOM) camp in central Somalia on Thursday.
The Islamist group announced the attack, launched on the base at Halgan in the Hiran region, through the social networking tool, Telegram.
The attack was confirmed by AMISOM on Twitter yet claimed the militants were overpowered.
We can confirm there was an attempted Al Shabaab attack on the AMISOM/SNA base in Halgan, Somalia. The enemy was successfully repulsed.
“We can confirm there was an attempted Al Shabaab attack on the AMISOM/SNA base in #Halgan Somalia. The enemy was successfully repulsed,” AMISOM said.
We can confirm there was an attempted Al Shabaab attack on the AMISOM/SNA base in #Halgan Somalia. The enemy was successfully repulsed.— AMISOM (@amisomsomalia) June 9, 2016
They added that an assortment of weapons were captured as a joint force of AMISOM troops and soldiers from the Somali National Army drove the attackers away and still in pursuit.
An assortment of weapons has been captured as the joint forces overpowered the attackers. More details to follow. #Halgan— AMISOM (
amisomsomalia) June 9, 2016
Al Shabaab said in their statement earlier that they entered the base and “massacred” many Ethiopian soldiers killing at least 60 and losing 16 of their fighters in the attack.
Their claim cannot be independently verified but that of AMISOM was verified by local authorities, AFP reports.
The Ethiopian government has also released a statement contesting the claims of al Shabaab on the death toll saying the number given by the militant group is a lie and that the army has killed 101 insurgents.
“There was an attempt by al Shabaab to attack our forces in central Somalia, but this attack started badly and our forces have killed 101 militants and destroyed heavy weapons,” Getachew Reda, spokesman of the Ethiopian government told AFP.
“We are still trying to identify the number of affected people on our side, but their claim that they killed 43 Ethiopian soldiers (the first assessment provided by al Shebab before reviewing it to 60 dead) is an absolute lie. It is the figment of their imagination,” he added.
Witnesses told AFP that the attack began when an al Shabaab militant blew himself up while driving a car bomb demolishing the entrance of the base. They added that the attacks have ceased although there are a few gunshots being fired.
AMISOM bases have been a regular target of the al Shabaab militant group which seeks to to topple the Western-backed government.
In January, the al Shabaab militia launched an early morning attack on an AMISOM base in the town of El-Adde, near the Ethiopian border. More than 100 Kenyan soldiers were killed in the dawn attacked,according to a statement released by the militia.
The 22,000 AU-backed AMISOM force has been in Somalia since 2007 and helped drive out al Shabaab from the capital Mogadishu in August 2011. Al Shabaab is still in control of vast rural areas and momentarily conduct attacks on the capital.
On Wednesday, June 1, at least 10 people were killed and dozens more injured after al-Shabaab fighters set off a car bomb at the premises of the popular Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu.