The Ugandan military says it is investigating an attack on an African union military base manned by the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) in Bulo Marer town in Somalia on Friday morning.
UPDF spokesperson Felix Kulayigye told Nation Africa that the attack was carried out by “foreign insurgents” without giving further details.
He said they were “cross-checking the information” with the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (Atmis) headquarters before issuing a statement.
Atmis, in a tweet, confirmed the attack, saying it was assessing the situation on the ground.
“This morning, #ATMIS FOB (Forward Operating Base) in Bulo Marer came under Al-Shabab attack. ATMIS forces are currently assessing the security situation. More information will be issued later.”
Reports indicate the attackers, suspected to be Al Shabaab militants, attempted to storm the base located some 120 kilometres south of Mogadishu before a series of explosions rent the air.
There were no immediate reports on casualties but local sources said there was a heavy presence of militants in Bulo Marer town.
The militants attacked an Atmis base and an adjacent one belonging to the Somali military, a Somali military captain who gave his name as Abdullahi told Reuters from the Lower Shabelle region.
"That prompted a fierce battle for hours. All groups including al Shabaab suffered heavy casualties," he said.
Residents of the town said they woke up to the sound of huge explosions and heavy weapons.
"Now we see al Shabaab in the town. We cannot know how many died. We are not hearing any shots from ATMIS and government now," local resident Rukia Farah said.
- Report by Harry Misiko and Laillah Mohamed in Nairobi, and Raymond Mujuni in Kampala.
- Additional reporting by Reuters.