Mogadishu - An American citizen of Somali origin was one of the two suicide bombers behind a twin attack on a pro-government military base in Mogadishu, the Islamist Shebaab movement said on Sunday.
Several pro-Shebaab radio stations broadcast what they said were the last words of Abdusalam al-Muhajir who said that he "wanted to die as a martyr" after spending the last two years fighting alongside the rebels.
"I am an American citizen who grew up in the United States after my parents took me there at the age of two," he said in the message which was broadcast a day after the attack on an African Union base in the capital.
Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim, a Shebaab spokesperson, told AFP that "two young and brave mujahideen warriors, one who came from the United States, led the holy attack that killed many enemies".
The African Union peacekeeping force (Amisom) in Mogadishu issued a statement after the attack, saying its troops had "beaten off an attack by al-Qaeda linked terrorists on one of their positions in the outskirts of the city".
In their statement issued on Saturday, the Shebaab claimed to have killed 80 Ugandan soldiers in a battle that lasted over two hours.
Dozens of young US citizens, most of them of Somali origin, have left their homeland in the last four years to join up with the Shebaab, according to the US department of justice.
Tens of thousands of Somali immigrants and their American-born children live in the United States, many of them clustered in the twin cities of Minneapolis-St Paul, in the midwestern state of Minnesota.