At least 15 Somali police officers were killed in a raid on a checkpoint in Afgoye, about 30 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, officials said.
Abdkadir Mohamed Nur Siidi, governor of Lower Shabelle, told VOA that heavily armed al-Shabab fighters attacked a police checkpoint overnight and briefly captured the station but were pushed back by security forces early Saturday.
“They took five police cars, but security forces traced the cars and managed to secure one of them” he added.
The governor said troops pursued al-Shabab fighters and a second fierce battle erupted in an area called “God Dofar,” about 40 kilometers northwest of Afgoye.
A source told VOA Somali more than 10 Somali soldiers were killed in that fighting. The governor declined to confirm the casualty figures.
Siidi told VOA Somali more than 30 al-Shabab fighters were killed in both attacks.
The violence is the latest by al-Shabab militants focusing on government targets as they try to topple the government and create an Islamic state.
Somali soldiers and AMISOM troops have had success in pushing al-Shabab from Somalia's major cities, but the group still controls other areas and continues to launch attacks.