Ten Burundi soldiers 'killed in Somalia'

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Burundi's military says 10 of its African Union peacekeepers have been killed in an attack on their base in Somalia while a security source in the region and a Mogadishu-based source say dozens are dead.

Burundi state television quoted army spokesman Floribert Biyereke saying that 25 other soldiers were wounded in Tuesday's raid on a camp near the village of El Baraf in central Somalia while 20 "al-Shabab terrorists" were also killed.

The security source in the region said several follow-up operations were going on after al-Shabab militants overran the camp the previous day.

The total number of casualties was not yet clear, he said, but "dozens" of soldiers were killed and about 20 were relocated with wounds.

The AU and troop-contributing countries such as Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia typically do not release casualty numbers after attacks.

Neither Burundi nor the AU responded to requests for comment on casualties.

Somalia is preparing to hold a long-delayed presidential election this month.

Political rivalries have split the security services, distracting them from the fight against the al-Shabab insurgency and sometimes spilling into gunbattles between rival factions.

The attack is unlikely to cause any withdrawals from the peacekeeping mission, the Mogadishu-based security source said.

The regionally-based source said there had been between 150-200 Burundian soldiers on the base but no Somalis because Monday was the Muslim Eid holiday.

More than 100 soldiers had been accounted for, he said, adding that Tuesday's assault was the deadliest since a 2017 attack on a Kenyan base in the town of Kolbiyow.

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