Militant group al-Shabaab killed at least 17 soldiers in an ambush in Somalia’s lower Shabelle province, a military official said on Thursday.
This is what could be one of the worst attacks on the army in recent years.
“It was a devastating ambush on members of the Somali National Army near the Afgoye corridor, 30km South West of the capital Mogadishu,” said Senior Somali Military official Abdullahi Ali.
The attack on Wednesday evening started with a roadside bomb that hit a military vehicle and was followed by a heavy gun battle that lasted several hours.
“We have lost 17 soldiers, and several others with wounds were taken to Mogadishu for treatment,” Ali said.
“At least six militants were also killed during the attack.”
Al-Shabaab, which has links to al-Qaeda and regularly launches attacks on military bases, government buildings, and hotels in the country, claimed responsibility for the ambush on its radio channel Andalus.
The attack comes as Somalia is preparing for parliamentary elections, which are to take place in December.
Presidential elections are due to take place early 2021.