Kenya’s army spokeman have disclosed that Al-Shabab militants have overrun an African Union military base outside the southern Somali town of el-Ade.
The spokesman further added that, the Islamic group’s takeover of the AU camp has resulted in the death of more than 60 Kenyan soldiers.
Residents also confirmed to the BBC that al-Shabab had raised its flag at a camp for Kenyan troops and said insurgents had paraded bodies through the town but Kenya's army spokesman have rebutted the residents account saying the attack was on a nearby Somali base with which Kenyan troops counter-attacked.
In a statement by Kenyan military spokesman, Col David Obonyo, he noted that the number of casualties on both sides was yet known. He told the BBC that reports of high Kenyan casualties were "normal propaganda from al-Shabab".
Kenya contributes more than 4,000 troops to the 22,000-strong AU force that is in Somalia helping the UN-backed government battle al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda. An el-Ade resident told the BBC by phone that he had heard a loud explosion at about 05:30 local time (02:30 GMT), followed by heavy gunfire.
"We then saw an al-Shabab fighter in the town. We also saw Kenyan soldiers who were fleeing from the camp. At the moment the camp is in the hands of al-Shabab. We can see military cars burning and dead soldiers all over the place. There are no civilian casualties but most people have fled the town", he added.
An al-Shabab official told the BBC that its fighters had attacked the base after morning prayers, starting with a car bomb before storming the facility.
"We took control of the base after one hour of fierce fighting; We counted 63 Kenyan bodies inside the base. The other Kenyan troops have run away into the bush and we are hunting them down, the official added.
He said the militants were confiscating 28 of 31 military vehicles inside the camp and all arms and ammunition. The two military bases - one for Somali troops and the other for AU soldiers. Al-Shabab was ousted from the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011, but continuous to have a presence in large areas of southern Somalia.