Al-Shabab fighters have captured a military base run by Kenyan and Somali troops in the Somali town of Kulbiyow, 18 kilometers from the Kenyan border, residents told VOA Somali.
Dozens of al-Shabab fighters and troops may have been killed, but the numbers have not been verified.
Two residents in the town said al-Shabab militants attacked the town and captured the base early Friday.
The attack started when a truck filled with explosives detonated at the base, followed by heavy gunfire and an infantry attack.
A Somali military officer told VOA Somali “small surveillance drones spotted the oncoming al-Shabab fighters.” He said the troops fired mortars at the insurgents, but that failed to stop them and the militants later drove “two explosive-laden trucks into the base.”
A small number of Somali forces and Kenyan troops fought to hold off the attack from al-Shabab, but the militants detonated more explosives and continued heavy gunfire.
Residents said the fighting lasted more than 90 minutes as the militants overpowered the Somali and Kenyan troops.
Al-Shabab fighters are now in full control of the base and are burning military vehicles, residents said.
The al-Shabab website said their fighters have overrun the base. The number of casualties was not immediately known.
Residents said the militants launched the attack from the nearby town of Badhadhe.
Kulbiyow is a Somali town in Lower Jubba close to the border with Kenya.
Just two days ago, Kenyan troops at Kulbiyow attacked an al-Shabab base at Badhadhe before retreating back to Kulbiyow.