The Islamist militant group al-Shabaab said Friday it had killed 57 Kenyan peacekeepers and taken their base in southern Somalia.
However, a Kenyan military spokesman has rejected the report and said the Kenyan soldiers killed scores of Al-Shabab militants in their retaliatory attacks.
The attack on the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) base at Kolbiyow, close to the Kenyan border in Somalia's Lower Juba region, began with suicide truck bombers blasting their way into the camp, followed by militants attacking from different directions.
Cord leader Raila Odinga on Sunday condoled families of KDF soldiers killed during the al Shabaab Kulbiyow attack on Friday. He declined to give further details. The group's military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters that two fighters had driven suicide vehicle bombs into the base before overrunning it, and claimed that the militants are now in control of the base, which is run by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
By the time the soldiers who retreated returned after the arrival of the special forces, the camp had already been overrun and burnt.
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Amisom troops had repulsed the attack by Al Shabaab terrorists who tried to storm the camp using vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED), the AUC said in a statement. The KDF base was attacked at 5am on Friday and the number of casualties remained unconfirmed, it reported.
Al-Qaida's East African affiliate is fighting to impose a strict version of Islam in this Horn of Africa nation.
The Kenyan government acknowledged the fatalities, without giving its own toll.
There was no immediate response from AU military officials in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Thousands of the AU troops are in Somalia to bolster the country's weak government, while al-Shabab continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks like this week's assault on a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed at least 26. This is the second attack that the group that has links to Al-Qaeda has carried out this week.