The picture above shows bodies that Shabaab claims are those of Burundian troops killed in Mogadishu. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group. More images can be seen at Radio Furqaan’s website.
Shabaab claimed it killed more than 100 African Union peacekeepers from Burundi and Uganda during heavy fighting two days ago in a suburb of the Somali capital of Somalia. The African Union denied the reports, and claimed that Shabaab faked the photographs of dead soldiers for propaganda purposes.
The al Qaeda-linked Shabaab released a photograph yesterday of what it claimed are the bodies of 76 African Union soldiers who were killed on Oct. 20 during heavy fighting in the Daynile district in Mogadishu. Shabaab also released a statement on the incident along with photographs of weapons and other military equipment it claimed were taken from the soldiers. The statement and photographs have been obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Shabaab claimed it repulsed an Oct. 20 attack by African Union forces in Daynile, one of the remaining Shabaab strongholds in the capital, by setting up an ambush.
“Upon reaching the outskirts of Daynile neighborhood, bullets rained upon them from where they did not know,” Shabaab said in its statement. “Allah dispersed them and they incurred a bitter defeat. In the afternoon, the dust of battle had settled, and the mujahideen started to gather the booty and count the losses. The mujahideen counted on the ground more than a hundred bodies of Ugandan and Burundian forces, 76 of which were taken to Lafoole district in Islamic Lower Shabelle province, in the same afternoon as the battle.”
The bodies are displayed in two lines and then taper off into a single line. The bodies are dressed in military fatigues worn by Burundian forces. Also seen are flak vests, helmets, and canteens. Most of the fighters are seen wearing military-issue socks and boots. The soldiers all appear to have shaved heads and are without beards. Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage, Shabaab’s spokesman, displays a crucifix and a Bible supposedly seized [more of the gruesome images can be seen at Radio Furqaan’s website].
The African Union denied that Shabaab killed that many of its soldiers, but did state that 10 AU soldiers were killed and two were missing. A spokesman claimed that Shabaab dressed its own slain soldiers in uniforms it had previously stashed to stage a propaganda coup, according to the BBC. The African Union has suppressed high casualties to its own forces in the past, however.
Shabaab’s claim of killing scores of African Union forces takes place as the terror group’s strongholds in the south, including the port city of Kismayo, are under threat of takeover by Kenyan forces. The Kenyan government invaded southern Somalia on Monday and vowed to drive Shabaab from bases along the border. A Kenyan Army spokesman said that his country’s forces would take control of Kismayo.