At least 18 African Union troops were killed in a deadly ambush in the Lower Shabelle region by al-Shabab militants, officials and security sources told VOA Somali.
The attack, near near Golweyn village, 120 kilometers south of Mogadishu, targeted a supply convoy of 24 vehicles near the town of Bulo Marer.
Al-Shabab claimed killing 39 AU soldiers, but military officials say that figure is exaggerated. The convoy of Ugandan soldiers was as part of AMISOM that left Shalanbod town.
Residents in Jeerow village saw al-Shabab fighters dragging the bodies of two soldiers
AU military spokesman Wilson Rono confirmed the ambush. “There was an IED [Improvised Explosive Device] that was made on the road that hit our convoy and then they followed that up with an ambush, but so far we have not gotten the details of the casualties on both sides,” he said.
Rono denied the figure claimed by al-Shabab. “That figure is farfetched.”
The attack comes a day after AU and Somali government officials concluded a five-day conference where they discussed transitioning security responsibilities from the AU peacekeepers to the Somali national security forces. AMISOM said it will start gradual transfer of responsibilities next year.