MOGADISHU, Somalia – The soldiers of the Burundian contingent serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia have suffered the effects of repeated attacks by Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
For the last two week, at least 12 African Union soldiers from Burundi were killed while 8 others injured, some seriously in separate attacks claimed by Al Shabaab in the Middle Shabelle region of Somalia.
Bujumbura confirmed 12 of its soldiers in Somalia had been killed and six injured on Saturday after a bomb explosion followed by an ambush attack near Balcad town, some 30km north of the capital, Mogadishu.
The attack ripped through an armored personnel carrier traveling from Jowhar to Mogadishu, said, a Burundian official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak on media.
Earlier this, Somali armed group al Shabaab claimed to have killed five Burundian soldiers in an ambush attack near Mahaday town in the same region, but the claims were denied by the African Union mission in Mogadishu.
The mission said two soldiers were only injured in the ambush attack.
Burundi is among 20,000 African peacekeepers operating in Somalia to help the western-backed government in fighting against Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda linked group.
A new report released by scholar Paul Williams said the overall death toll for the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is probably in the range of 1,800 troops.
Somali armed group al Shabaab has been fighting against the Weak-Western backed government for more than ten years in Somalia.
The group was pushed out of Mogadishu capital in 2011 by Somali army troops and 22,000-strong African Union force in Somalia.
The group also lost most of their strongholds, but it still controls large rural areas and remains the key threat to peace in Somalia.
It also wants to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Somalia.