By Mohammed Dhaysane
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) - Al-Shabaab militants launched twin attacks Wednesday on military bases in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, killing at least four soldiers, said officials.
The first attack took place at the el-Salini military base located 55 kilometers (34 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
The Somali National Army repulsed the attack, killing nine militants, Somali government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar told Anadolu Agency by phone.
"The terrorists wanted to disrupt the security of the military bases in order to justify their existence, but they suffered heavy losses and casualties, leaving their dead and weapons behind. Six terrorist were killed and three blew themselves up," Mukhtar said.
Hassan Mohamed Abukar, a military colonel on the frontline, confirmed that at least four soldiers were killed in the attack.
The second attack took place at a military base in the town of Qoryoley housing Somali and African Union peacekeeping forces. Qoryoley is an agricultural town located 120 kilometers (74 miles) from Mogadishu.
Lower Shabelle Governor Ibrahim Adan told journalists that three al-Shabaab fighters were killed while there were no losses among the soldiers.
The Somali military also said they had conducted a counteroffensive that liberated four villages from al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for both attacks and said it had killed more than 20 soldiers, destroyed four military vehicles and seized military equipment.