At least 20 Somali government soldiers were killed and 18 others were wounded when al-Shabab raided a military base south of Mogadishu, security sources told VOA Somali.
The sources said militants detonated a suicide car bomb at the El-Salin military base followed by an infantry attack in the early hours of Sunday.
The militants briefly took over the base, a regional official told VOA Somali.
A spokesman for Somali special forces said the militants attacked the base in large numbers.
Mowlid Ahmed Hassan said the fighting lasted about 40 minutes, insisting the troops 'defended the base. He said reinforcements have been sent to the base.
Hassan said the troops killed 13 militants, but declined to comment on the number of government soldiers killed in the attack.
Somali troops seized the El-Salin base from al-Shabab on August 6. It was one of four bases in Lower Shabelle region recaptured following an offensive by the Somali military.
Source: Voice of America