Dozens of al-Shabaab militants were killed on Saturday as they launched an attack on a military base in Somalia, a government official said.
The militants began by detonating an explosives-packed vehicle at an entrance to the Bar-Sanguni base, said Ali Mohamed Mohamud, a general and senior Somali army commander.
An intense exchange of gunfire followed but Somali soldiers were able to regain full control of the base located in Lower Juba province, he said.
There were contradicting tallies as to the number of people killed.
The general said seven Somali soldiers died, while al-Shabaab put the number at 15.
Jubbaland regional security minister Abdirashid Hassan Abdinur told state-run Radio Mogadishu that 73 militants were killed. Al-Shabaab’s radio station did not say how many of its fighters died.
Al-Shabaab, a group affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network, launches regular attacks against government officials, foreigners, hotels and restaurants within the volatile nation.
The jihadist group claimed responsibility for a gun and bombing attack at an upscale hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on Tuesday in which 21 people were killed.