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Shabab claims killing 27 soldiers in southern Somalia

A Somali soldier holds a machine gun at the Sanguuni military base, about 450 kilometers south of Mogadishu, Somalia, on June 13, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants have launched a deadly attack on a military base in southern Somalia, claiming to have killed at least 27 soldiers there.

Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab's military operations spokesman, said the fatalities took place on Monday after the militant group carried out a car bomb attack and raided the base in Baar Sanguni village, located some 50 kilometers away from the southern port city of Kismayo.

"We first attacked the base with a suicide car bomb and then stormed. We killed 27 soldiers and took the base. Some soldiers fled into the jungles," he said.

Somali military forces in Kismayo confirmed the attack and said reinforcements had been sent to the base following the explosion and heavy fighting.

There has been no immediate comment from the Somali government on the attack.

Somali government forces have been battling al-Shabab militants since 2006.

The Takfiri militant group controlled Mogadishu between 2007 and 2011. In 2011, it was driven out of the capital with help from African Union troops. A period of relative calm started in Mogadishu afterward.

Al-Shabab militants, however, still retain a significant presence, reportedly roaming freely and posing a threat in regions outside the capital where the central government has little control.

The group launches regular attacks on government, military and civilian targets.

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