Mogadishu, Jan 17 (IANS) Somalia’s Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab on Sunday claimed to have killed 100 Kenyan soldiers serving under the AU mandate in the Horn of Africa nation following an attack in the Gedo region.
Al-Shabaab said in a statement that they also captured alive other Kenyan troops and seized weapons and military vehicles in the dawn attack on Friday that has been roundly condemned by the international community.
“Following Friday’s raid on a Kenyan base in the town of El-Adde, Gedo region, the death toll of the Kenyan crusaders massacred in the base has risen to 100 as confirmed by the Mujahideen’s military department,” Xinhua reported citing the statement.
However, both the Kenyan government and Amisom officials have disputed the figure, terming it as propaganda.
The statement also said that the attack was conducted by Commander Saleh An Nabhani battalion in retaliation to what it termed as continued extra-judicial killings and persecution of Muslims in Kenya.
“Mujahideen fighters from the ‘Commander Saleh An-Nabhani Battalion’ stormed the Kenyan base in the early hours of Friday morning, killing more than 100 Kenyan invaders, seizing their weapons and military vehicles and even capturing Kenyan soldiers alive,” the group said.
Al-Shabaab said the latest attack comes as response to Kenyan occupation of parts of Somalia and its military persecution of innocent Muslims in Kenya.
“This audacious attack — the largest single attack against the Kenyan military inside Somalia — comes as a response to the aggressive Kenyan invasion of Muslim lands and the Kenyan military’s continued persecution of innocent Muslims, particularly in the North East and the Coastal regions,” it said.
“The spate of extra-judicial killings carried out by the Kenyan authorities against Muslim leaders and scholars in Kenya, the systematic detention and harassment of innocent Muslims and the recent discovery of mass graves in Mandhera are all indicative,” the statement added.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta confirmed that his country had lost soldiers during the attack but there were no official figures yet from Kenyan authorities.