African Union troops have lost 16 soldiers this week as they battle the last remnants of al Shabaab still holed up in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Six soldiers died in last Sunday’s attack and 10 more on Thursday.
The Africa mission spokesperson Col Paddy Ankunda said on Friday that the mission lost 10 soldiers in Thursday’s fight and two of the peacekeepers belonging to the Burundian contingency are still missing.
He, however disputed the claim by al Shabaab that it killed 70 troops on Thursday.
The militant group had posted photos of the 20 bodies it claimed were AU forces on the website of a Mogadishu radio station.
The bodies were put on display in the al-Shabaab-controlled El-Maan area, 18km from Mogadishu, but the AU has dismissed the display as propaganda.
The fighting was centered in the northwest Deynile suburb, one of the final pockets still held by the al-Qaeda linked militants in war-torn Mogadishu.
African Union troops and government forces have been pushing into remaining al-Shabaab areas in Mogadishu, after the bulk of the fighters abandoned their fixed positions in August.
Uganda’s army spokesperson, Col Felix Kulayigye said bodies of the six Ugandan soldiers killed in the Sunday fight have been brought back to Uganda and handed over to their families. The AU has 9,000 soldiers in Somalia.