At least 13 Somali troops died after the army attacked militant group al Shabaab in jungle and farms near Afgoye north-west of Mogadishu, a military official said.
Al Shabaab has battled since 2008 to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-recognised central government and establish its rule, based on its own interpretation of Islamic law.
“We left Afgoye and attacked al Shabaab on farms outside Afgoye,” Major Mohamed Ali told Reuters, describing Wednesday’s incident.
“We killed four militants and chased al Shabaab,” Ali said. “Most of the military came back and we left two dozen soldiers there. Thenal Shabaab attacked our soldiers and killed 13.”
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.
“We killed 24 soldiers and the rest escaped and ran away,” said Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman.
Somalia’s government and al Shabaab often give differing figures of casualties after attacks.