At least 18 people were killed in Somalia on Saturday in two separate bomb attacks carried out by suspected al-Shabab insurgents, officials said.
In the first attack, 14 soldiers were killed and more than 20 wounded when militants drove an explosives-laden vehicle into a training site for African Union peacekeepers from Kenya and Somali soldiers in the southern port city of Kismayo.
The military base is located within Kismayo University, where the soldiers are being trained to fight the extremist group, according to Somali officials.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that blast on its radio station, Andulus, and claimed 100 soldiers were killed.
But police Col. Mohamed Hassan, a senior Somali police officer in Kismayo, insisted that just 14 soldiers were killed and nine wounded. "Some of the victims in hospitals have sustained serious wounds," he said.
Two militants were killed in the attack and two more were arrested and are being interrogated by security officials, according to a Twitter posting from the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.
The second attack occurred in the capital, Mogadishu, where four people were killed and at least 10 others wounded, police official Abdullah Osoble said. He said a car bomb exploded near a police station close to a settlement used by displaced persons.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the Mogadishu attack, although it bore the hallmarks of al-Shabab.
Despite being forced out of many of their strongholds, the group is still able to launch lethal attacks in the capital and elsewhere in Somalia.