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Al-Shabaab said it targeted the base for peacekeepers with the African Union in Mogadishu in response to the killing of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leaders of al-Qaida in Iraq. The two were killed last week in Tikrit during a joint raid by Iraqi and U.S. forces.
Ali Mohamud Rage, a spokesman for al-Shabaab, said the attack killed 20 peacekeepers with the African Union Mission to Somalia. Maj. Barigye Ba-Hoku, a spokesman for AMISOM, told Voice of America, however, that AU soldiers thwarted the attack.
Al-Shabaab was blamed with killing nearly 40 AMISOM peacekeepers since troops from the Ugandan military arrived in Mogadishu in 2007. Somali and international human rights groups have protested AMISOM soldiers and al-Shabaab fighters for fighting in populated areas of the capital.
Al-Shabaab during the first week of April ordered national radio stations to stop carrying VOA and BBC broadcasts, saying their reports were insulting to Muslims. VOA is the official external broadcasting service of the U.S. federal government.