MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali Islamic militants overran a military base in the southern region where it says killed 23 soldiers during the assault.
The al Qaeda linked group al Shabaab says its fighters had stormed into a military camp in El Salini near Marka town, 91km away from the capital, Mogadishu.
The group’s military operation spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab says 23 soldiers were killed and seized six armored vehicles during the attack.
But, Somali military denies claims, saying it had lost five soldiers in the attack.
A Somali military official Mohamed Abdi confirmed five soldiers were killed, adding that 13 Al Shabaab militants were neutralized in Sunday’s attack.
He says the attack started with a car bomb explosion.
The military forces regained control of the base, he added.
The group was pushed out of Mogadishu capital in 2011 by Somali army troops and 22,000-strong African Union force in Somalia.
The rebel group also lost most of their strongholds, but it still controls large rural areas and remains the key threat to peace in Somalia.
The al Qaeda linked group has been fighting for over ten years to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Somalia.