Al-Shabab says it launched a suicide attack on the base in Bariire while simultaneously attacking the nearby base of Awdhigle.
Al-Shabab fighters attacked early Saturday morning two military bases belonging to the Somali National Army.
The bases, located 100 km southwest of the capital Mogadishu, were hit by two explosions, witnesses said. A third explosion targeted a convoy of troops rushing to the bases from the capital after the attack.
There was no immediate official comment or details of the casualties, but an army officer confirmed the attacks.
“We are on our way to reinforce,” Ahmed Abdullahi told Reuters news agency by phone, adding that the attacks took place at the Bariire and Awdhigle bases.
Al-Shabab said it launched a suicide bombing in a vehicle at the Bariire base while simultaneously attacking the nearby Awdhigle base with a car bomb and fighters to prevent troops stationed there to strengthen Bariire.
“We invaded the Bariire base, burned three military vehicles and took two vehicles,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab spokesman for military operations, referring to a brief occupation of Bariire.
He confirmed that a third vehicle-mounted explosive device struck a convoy of government troops coming from Mogadishu with reinforcements.
Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has launched attacks for years and imposed tolls on trade in a campaign to introduce strict religious law.