The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants in Somalia have killed at least 10 soldiers in an attack on a military base southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
The fatalities came on Monday when the group rammed a car packed with explosives into the base. Militants then stormed the base, sparking a heavy exchange of fire which lasted for hours.
Major Ahmed Farah from the nearby town of Afgooye said at least 12 militants were killed in the clashes while a spokesman for al-Shabaab claimed to have killed 30 soldiers.
The assault on the base 50 km (30 miles) outside Mogadishu was part of the group’s campaign to topple the Western-backed government.
Somalia has been the scene of deadly fighting between government forces and al-Shabaab elements since 2006.
Al-Shabaab militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities by government troops and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
AMISOM is largely made up of troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.
Al-Shabaab members have continued to carry out attacks in Mogadishu despite being driven out from their bases in the seaside city in 2011.
Its victims have included international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and African Union peacekeepers.
Last month, a bomber first detonated a car with explosives at the gate of a hotel often used by politicians and tourists in the capital before the attackers moved in, killing at least 14 people.
The group claimed an attack on another hotel in Mogadishu which killed at least 10 people and left 50 others injured.
On Sunday, more than 100 al-Shabab militants raided a police station in northeast Kenya overnight, wounding one officer and making off with arms and ammunition.
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