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African Union disputes rebels' body count claim

Militants linked to al-Qa'ida claimed yesterday to have killed 70 foreign peacekeepers serving with the African Union (AU).

But a witness said many of the bodies were probably Somali government troops.

A spokesman for the AU said the insurgents from the Islamist al-Shabaab movement stole uniforms and dressed up scores of their own dead. The militants said the bodies were proof that they could still put up a fight despite coming under attack from AU and Kenyan troops. They showed about 60 bodies after fierce fighting, witnesses said. Some had flak jackets and helmets – standard issue for AU forces but not for Somali troops. But many bodies displayed were dressed only in green camouflage uniforms.