MOGADISHU, June 11 (Xinhua) — The Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and East African bloc IGAD have commended Ethiopian troops serving with AMISOM for repulsing an Al-Shabaab attack and inflicting heavy casualties on the militants on Thursday.
Al-Shabaab militants raided an AMISOM base run by the Ethiopian troops in Halgan in central Somalia but were pushed back.
AMISOM said its troops killed at least 110 Al-Shabaab militants.
“IGAD condemns this senseless act of violence and commends the heroic forces of the AMISOM who have repulsed the latest attack to ensure that the industrious and peace loving people of Somalia live in peace and stability after two decades of war and destruction,” the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement received on Saturday.
Al-Shabaab claimed it killed 60 Ethiopian soldiers in the attack. AMISOM has not revealed whether there were casualties on its side.
AMISOM’s acting force commander, Maj. Gen. Nakibus Lakara, visited the Halgan Forward Operation Base in Hiiraan region on Friday. He commended the troops for repulsing the attack and vowed to step up security to defeat the militants.
“Al-Shabaab has been exploiting AMISOM weaknesses but over time we have been able to learn lessons and share the experiences and this is evidence of the troops being able to pick those lessons from previous experiences,” he said.
An AMISOM statement said a cache of arms seized from the militants was displayed during Lakara’s visit and that the battlefield was still strewn with bodies of Al-Shabaab fighters.
AMISOM Sector Four deputy commander, Col. Ayenom Mesfin, said the fighting at the military base lasted more than four hours.
“We were attacked by about 400 enemies from four different fronts at dawn and the fight ended after 9:30 a.m.,” Mesfin said.
AMISOM force spokesperson, Lt. Col Joe Kibet, dismissed Al-Shabaab’s claim that its militants had overrun the camp. “It is pure propaganda to say that they overran this camp,” he said.