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At Least 30 Burundian Soldiers Killed in Al Shabaab Attack on Peacekeeping Base, Somalia

Early on Tuesday 03 May, Al Shabaab forces overran a Burundian African Union (AU) peacekeeper’s base in Middle Shabelle, Somalia. Three civilians were killed, as well as 30 soldiers. A further 22 soldiers were injured. The militants deployed two car bombs before storming the base with heavy gunfire. 

Al Shabaab sent a suicide car bomber into the base’s main gates, allowing the alleged 400 fighters to enter the building. Al Shabaab claims to have killed 59 soldiers in the first hour, as they took control of the base, but these numbers have not been confirmed. AU forces retaliated with helicopter gunships and drones after the Burundian soldiers retreated to a nearby hillside in Ceel Baraf village. 

Al Shabaab has carried out frequent bombings and gun attacks throughout Somalia, including an attack near Mogadishu’s main airport in March 2022. However, this attack was the group’s biggest attack this year.

Since 2010, AOAV has recorded 385 incidents of explosive violence claimed by or attributed to Al Shabaab: 346 in Somalia, and 39 in Kenya. In Kenya, 69 civilian casualties of explosive weapons use by Al Shabaab have been recorded in English language media since 2010 (32 killed, 37 injured), and 4, 611 civilian casualties have been recorded in Somalia (1, 655 killed, 2 956 injured). In total, 4, 680 civilian casualties recorded by AOAV have been attributed to Al Shabaab since 2010. Of these, 43 were reported as women, and 59 as children. 

AOAV has recorded 1, 774 armed actor casualties of explosive weapons use by Al Shabaab since 2010 (1, 1234 killed, 540 injured). 73% of casualties of explosive weapons used by Al Shabaab are civilians. 

Across 17 incidents of explosive weapons use by Al Shabaab reported in English language media so far in 2022, 329 civilian casualties have been recorded by AOAV (110 killed and 219 injured). 2022 is already the 7th deadliest year for civilian casualties of explosive violence attributed to Al Shabaab.