Somalia's president says at least 180 Kenyan soldiers were killed in Somalia in an extremist attack on their base in January by al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, speaking in an interview on a Somali cable TV channel, said Wednesday that between 180 and 200 Kenyan soldiers were killed in the Jan. 15 attack. Kenya's military spokesman denied the figures given by the Somali President but declined to give an official death toll.

The attack happened in the town of El-Ade, not far from the Kenyan border. Kenya has provided a major contingent to the African Union force that is fighting al-Shabab, a Somali Islamic extremist group that is trying to overthrow Somalia's government.