Witnesses told VOA’s Somali Service that gunmen attacked a checkpoint staffed by soldiers at the base just outside Baidoa, a town 256 kilometers or 159 miles northwest of the capital, Mogadishu.
The ensuing battle claimed casualties from both sides, Somali authorities said.
Also Friday, a Somali security guard was killed and four other people were wounded when a car – used by teachers traveling to a local high school – exploded in the central town of Galkayo. Two Kenyan teachers reportedly were among the wounded.
No one has claimed responsibility for the Galkayo attack.
Al-Shabab leader’s death confirmed
Earlier this week, the United States confirmed al-Shabab’s intelligence and security chief Tahlil Abdishakur died Monday in a U.S. airstrike on a vehicle in the Somali town of Saakow.
The Pentagon said the death of Tahlil, who was responsible for al-Shabab’s external operations, will have a significant impact on al-Shabab’s ability to conduct attacks against the Somali government, the Somali people and U.S. allies and interests.
A Pentagon spokesman said it is believed the raid caused no civilian casualties.
In September, another U.S. airstrike in Somalia killed al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.
The al-Qaida affiliated al-Shabab has tried for years to overthrow the Somali government and turn the country into a conservative Islamic state.
Somali and African Union troops been in recapturing towns and cities formerly under al-Shabab control.