The militant group launched the attack by using vehicles loaded with explosives, followed by armed militants storming two army bases occupied by the African Union forces (ATMIS) and the Somali National Army (SNA).
It began with multiple massive explosions leading to a fierce confrontation between Ugandan troops of the African Union Transition Mission (ATMIS) and the al-Shabaab attackers in the dawn hours of Friday.
Residents said they were waken up by the sound of gunfire and explosions as the battle ensued for hours.
The exact number of casualties is unknown at this time.
Eyewitnesses told Kaab TV that al-Shabaab fighters were seen patrolling the streets of Bulo Mareer during mid-morning, while frightened residents fled the agricultural-rich town to seek safety in nearby locations. One resident named Abukar Hussein reported witnessing the militant group looting the military bases.
Social media reports have indicated that Al-Shabaab has captured Ugandan soldiers alive. However, local authorities and army officers have not provided any official comments.
ATMIS, in a statement, acknowledged the assault, stating, “This morning, #ATMIS FOB in Bulo Mareer came under Al-Shabab attack. ATMIS forces are currently assessing the security situation. More information will be issued later.”
On the other hand, Al-Shabaab, in their statement, claimed to have seized the camp and allegedly killed dozens of ATMIS soldiers. However, there is currently no independent verification of the group’s claim.