Al-Shabab militants in Somalia killed at least eight government soldiers in an ambush near the town of Baidoa, officials said.
A Somali military commander told VOA Somali that Shabab fighters, using rocket propelled grenades and machine guns, ambushed a military convoy sent to reinforce government forces at a base being attacked early Tuesday by the militants.
Thirteen government soldiers were wounded.
Officials said the militants attacked Daynunay military base, 18 kilometers east of Baidoa. Witnesses and government officials said Somali soldiers in the base repulsed the militants after heavy gunfire.
Regional Minister Hassan Abdi Mohamed, who visited Daynunay base on Tuesday, told VOA that the soldiers had received a tip-off about the attack.
Al-Shabab said its fighters overran the base, killing number of soldiers, destroying a military vehicle and seizing another. Government officials denied they lost control of the base.
Mohamed said the attack might have been in retaliation for a raid by government forces on Sunday, in which four militants blew themselves up after government troops surrounded their hideout outside Baidoa.
Meanwhile, Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for attack against African Union troops in Somalia that took place Monday outside Mogadishu.
IS media said the group planted an explosive device that destroyed an AMISOM military vehicle in the village of Tredici.
AMISOM military spokesman Joseph Kibet told VOA that a bomb exploded just after an AU convoy passed a junction, but cast doubt on the IS claim of responsibility.
“For us, we don’t believe its ISIS. It could be one of those local Al-Shabab cells,” Kibet said.