Two weeks after publicly warning it would attack a Kenyan base in coastal Somalia, al Shabaab terrorists audaciously launched that very assault early on Friday.
It said it overran and captured the Kulbiyow base and killed 57 soldiers. Reports said it withdrew after removing trucks and burningvehicles.
Kenya denied the camp was overrun and said the attackers were repulsed. However, it did not disclose the death toll.
Combat helicopters were deployed after al Shabaab planted IEDs on four roads leading to to the camp.
Onesoldier was killed and three seriously injured. KDF did not disclose the death toll at.
Yesterday afternoon, senior military officers led by the Chief of Defence Forces General Samuel Mwathethe were locked in a crisis meetings, awaiting an update on the attack and battle damage assessment by a team sent to the area.
Al Shabaab said it attacked the KDF Forward Operation Base and made off with weapons and vehicles. That attack was strikingly similar to the terrorist attack on the KDF base in El Adde on January 15, 2016. Al Shabaab says more than 100 soldiers were slaughtered then, some reports say as many as 200. The governmentstill refuses to disclose the death toll.
“We were under massive attack and there is massive exchange of fire,” KDF spokesman Lt Col Paul Njuguna said on Friday morning,while the attack was underway.
He later dismissed reports that the camp had been destroyed as “propaganda from the enemy”.
“We’ve repulsed the enemy. We were ready. We’ve not been overrun. It’s false,” Njuguna said. “It is important to note that contrary to information peddled by the terrorists, our camp has not been overrun.”
Njuguna said the militants tried to access the camp using a Suicide Vehicle Borne IED, or a truck bomb, but Kenyan soldiers fiercely engaged them. On January 17, al Shabaab
posted a gruesome video showing an attack in northern Kenya and separately the apparent execution of a Ugandan soldier captured in Somalia. Shabaab warned of an attack on Kulbiyow if Kenyan troops did not withdraw from Somalia.
Before he was shot in the head on camera, the soldier said, “I ask President Uhuru Kenyatta to withdraw from Somalia and not to forget the KDF soldiers being held
Early on Friday, al Shabaab fighters are said to have detonated at least one truck bomb at the base, opening the
way for fighters. This was followed heavy gunfire and a swarm of attackers. This was the script in El Adde.
“We are pursuing the Kenyan soldiers who ran away into the woods,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman,
“Two mujaheddin (fi ghters) rammed suicide car bombs into
the base in Kulbiyow town before storming it,” he said. Fifty-seven soldiers were killed, he said. Weapons and vehicles were seized.
“We have taken over the base,” the spokesman said.
Al Shabaab said it killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers in El Adde near the Kenyan border.
Al Shabaab, whose assessment of casualties diff ers markedly form the offi cial versions, typically rams the entrance to a target site with a car or truck bomb so fi ghters can storm in.
Yesterday four reinforcement teams from other Kenyan camps encountered IEDs as they drove to the Kulbiyow camp. Al Shabaab is believed to have mined the roads.
One soldier was killed and three others seriously injured when a Toyota Land Cruiser struck an IED. It
was in a convoy of eight vehicles. e three injured officers were airlifted to Nairobi. Other teams were
also unable to reach the camp until airborne reinforcements reached the base.
KDF then deployed attack helicopters to reinforce the base.
Five days ago KDF troops in Amisom killed seven al Shabaab fighters and seized their weapons. The troops were on a daily routine patrol in Badhaadhe. They launched an off offensive against the militants, who had taken control of a mosque and a police station at dawn.
The group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out the peacekeepers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other nations.
African Union and Somali troops have driven it from major cities and ports but they have often struggled to defend smaller, remote area.