The African Union (AU) on Sunday evening condemned serious attacks on Somalia peacekeepers " in the strongest terms," describing these as "criminal and cowardly attacks.
" In a statement, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping said he was following "with utmost concern" the ongoing developments in Mogadishu, where the Burundian contingent of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has been under intense mortar attacks.
"These attacks have reached today an unprecedented level, resulting in the killing of 11 Burundian soldiers, while 15 others have sustained serious injuries, " Ping said These attacks were perpetrated "by elements bent on undermining the ongoing efforts to promote peace and security in Somalia, and whose only aim is to bring about more violence and destruction, in complete disregard of the aspirations of their people and the interest of their country," he said.
This new wave of attacks "came at a time when remarkable achievements have been made towards the promotion of an all-inclusive political and reconciliation process," which culminated with the election of a new president and the appointment of a new prime minister, he bemoaned.
The AU statement said the Burundian troops were attacked by mortar bombs, but Islamist insurgents and witnesses said suicide bombers carried out the attacks.
The 3,500-strong AU peacekeeping force is currently made up of Ugandan and Burundian soldiers.