Witnesses and militants say that Al Shabaab militants targeted two Somali National Army military bases early Saturday morning.
Al Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, is a group of Islamist militants who have waged years of attacks and imposed trade tolls in an effort to enforce strict religious rule.
There was no immediate official comment or details on casualties but one military officer in the army confirmed the attacks.
“We are on the way as reinforcement,” Ahmed Abdullahi told Reuters by phone, adding that the attacks occurred at the Bariire and Awdhigle bases.
The bases, located about 100 km (60 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, were struck by two explosions, the witnesses said.
A third explosion targeted a convoy of troops rushing to the bases from the capital after the attack, they added.
The al Shabaab said it had launched a vehicle borne suicide bomb attack on the Bariire base while simultaneously attacking the nearby Awdhigle base with a car bomb and fighters, to prevent troops stationed there from reinforcing Bariire.
Reuters quoted Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, as saying, “We overran Bariire base, burned three military vehicles, and took two vehicles.”
He announced that a third vehicle-borne explosive device targeted a convoy of government troops on their way to Mogadishu with reinforcements.