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Somalia's Al-Shabab Attacks African Peacekeepers

African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), African Union soldiers march along the top of a hill overlooking the al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town 135 miles southwest of Mogadishu, in Somalia, in October.

The African Union has condemned an assault on the organization's main base in Somalia by al-Shabab extremists that killed three AU soldiers and a civilian contractor.

AMISOM, the AU mission in Somalia, issued a statement Thursday saying that the four had been killed in a gunfight as soldiers tried to repel the attack by eight militant gunmen.

"The terrorists, some of whom were disguised in Somali National Army (SNA) uniforms, breached the base camp around lunch hour and attempted to gain access to critical infrastructure, during which five of them were killed and three others captured," the African Union statement said.

"Our forces shot dead three of them, two detonated themselves near a fuel depot, and the three are believed to have escaped," AMISOM spokesman Col. Ali Aden Houmed told The Associated Press.

By way of background, the AP says:

"AU troops are bolstering Somalia's weak government against an insurgency from the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab.

"This is not the first time al-Shabab has attacked the African Union. In 2011 the group attacked an African Union base in Mogadishu sparking a two-hour gunfight that left at least ten people dead. Earlier this month, a suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a U.N. convoy near Mogadishu's airport, killing three people just after Somalia's president entered the protected airport area. No U.N. staff were killed or injured, said the U.N."

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