Kenya’s military confirmed that nine of its personnel were killed and 15 others were injured in the dawn Al-Shabaab attack in southern Somalia town of Kolbiyow.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spokesman Col. Paul Njuguna said over 70 Al-Shabaab militants were killed and scores were wounded in the Jan 27 attack which was repulsed by the soldiers operating under Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Njuguna said KDF soldiers successfully defended the military camp located in Kolbiyow, Lower Juba, following an attempted attack by Al-Shabaab terrorists.

“During this engagement KDF lost two officers and seven servicemen. Fifteen KDF soldiers who were injured during the engagement have been evacuated to Defence Forces Memorial Hospital for further medical attention,” he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

However, Al-Shabaab which claimed responsibility for the attack said it had killed at least 57 soldiers. Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab also said they took full control of the camp and killed several soldiers before withdrawing later in the afternoon.

Njuguna said a wave of terrorists supported by two Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) attempted to attack the camp but the attempt was unsuccessful due to fire from KDF troops in defensive positions.

“Over 70 Al-Shabaab terrorists were killed and scores wounded in the attack. Additionally, KDF soldiers launched a hot pursuit on the fleeing terrorists,” he added.

Njuguna said KDF’s Quick Reaction Force, Land and Air Forces arrived at the Kolbiyow Camp early Friday and reinforced the defence and pursuit efforts.

He said pacification efforts are still on going, as well as consolidation of personnel and defensive posture at the camp.

“The KDF soldiers remain vigilant and will continue to relentlessly pursue the terrorist to ensure peace and security of our country Kenya, as well as support AMISOM operations in order to stabilize Somalia,” said Njuguna.

The attack happens a year after a similar attack at El Adde which resulted in the deaths of over 100 Kenyan troops.

Separately, two Kenyan police officers were killed and four others seriously wounded on Jan 27 when their vehicle was hit by explosive device along the border with Somalia.

A security officer said the deceased from Administration Police were responding to an attack by Al-Shabaab terrorists on a Kenya Defence Forces base in Kulbiyow when they were attacked.

“We lost two officers while the other four have been admitted at the hospital here in Nairobi. They were responding to the attack on KDF base in Somalia,” said an official aware of the incident.

The security office who declined to be named said their vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as it crossed the border to Somalia to rescue KDF personnel who were under siege.

The injured were flown to Nairobi for specialized treatment. The incident forced the officers to abandon their mission.