August 1, 2011 / 6:29 PM / 7 years ago

African Union troops say foil Somalia suicide blast

* AU force says two of its soldiers killed

* Al Shabaab puts number at eight

* Attack happened on first day of Ramadan

MOGADISHU, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Two suicide bombers attacked African Union peacekeeping soldiers in Somalia on Monday, killing two of them in a gunfight, but were themselves shot dead before they could detonate their explosives, an AU force spokesman said.

Al Qaeda-allied al Shabaab insurgents are battling to overthrow Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and impose their own version of sharia law on the nation.

Soldiers from Uganda and Burundi make up the 9,000-strong AU peacekeeping force propping up the government and fighting al Shabaab.

An AU statement said two would-be bombers dressed in government soldiers’ uniforms tried to infiltrate a position held by peacekeepers. They were killed before they could detonate their charges.

“In an exchange of gunfire with the suicide bombers two AMISOM soldiers were wounded but died later of their injuries,” the statement said.

At the same time, the al Shabaab insurgents said they had killed eight AU soldiers as well as three “white” soldiers. The AU force denied any Caucasian men were working with it.

Reporting by Ibrahim Mohamed; Editing by George Obulutsa and Angus MacSwan

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