At least five people were killed and 12 others wounded Saturday in heavy fighting between Somali National Army soldiers and al-Shabab militants in the Bakol region of southwestern Somalia, officials said.
Somali army officials told VOA that the militants had attacked a government military base in el-Lahelay village, about 20 kilometers west of Hudur, the provincial capital of the region.
The militants used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to assault the base from different directions at midday Saturday, engaging in a fierce gunbattle with Somali troops for about an hour, officials said.
On the condition of anonymity, witnesses told a VOA reporter in the region that they saw the bodies of at least five combatants, some from each side. No civilian casualties were reported.