Al-Shabab says it launched a suicide attack on the Bariire base while simultaneously attacking the nearby Awdhigle base.
Al-Shabab fighters attacked two military bases belonging to the Somali National Army early on Saturday morning.
The bases, located 100km (60 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, were struck by two explosions, witnesses said. A third explosion targeted a convoy of troops rushing to the bases from the capital after the attack.
“The assailants tried to attack but thanks to our brave soldiers who knew about the tricks of the assailants, the militants were defeated and their wounded and dead bodies are strewn around, we will provide you the details later,” army chief General Odowa Yusuf Rage told reporters.
Hussein Nur, a military officer, said the army lost “several” soldiers in the attack on Bariire and Awdhigle bases, without giving a precise number.
The army sent in reinforcements from other bases, who killed an unidentified number of attackers in the ensuing fight, he said.
The army was now in control of both bases and the surrounding areas, Nur said, adding, “We are pursuing the militants in the surrounding jungle.”
The armed group claimed it killed dozens and captured military vehicles and supplies.