A number of soldiers were killed during a large-scale attack by Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia on Saturday, according to the country’s military.
The attack began in the morning in the Raaga-Ele district in the volatile Middle Shabelle region around 90 kilometres north-east of the capital Mogadishu.
Tensions remained high in the area as Somali forces and local militias regrouped outside the district to retake it from the militants, Mohamud Dahir, an elder in the nearby town of Adale, told dpa.
Many people had fled their homes during the clashes, he added, though no civilians had so far been reported harmed in the attack.
At least six militants and three soldiers were killed in the attack, according to military commander Mohamud Saney.
“We are sending more troops to the area,” he said.
Al-Shabaab meanwhile claimed via its mouthpiece Radio Andalus that it had killed dozens of soldiers in the attack.
The Sunni terrorist group has been fighting for supremacy in the country in the Horn of Africa for years.
It controls large parts of the south and the centre and repeatedly launches attacks on civilians and security forces.
In a separate attack in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday, three bodyguards were killed by a car bomb targeting two Somali lawmakers.