Al-Shabab fighters have killed at least eight officers in a raid on a police station near the capital, a police official said.
“Al-Shabab killed eight of my colleagues and took three of our cars,” police Major Abdikadir Hussein told the Reuters news agency on Saturday.
“We traced them this morning, killed 10 of them and secured our pick up car with a gun hooked on,” he added, saying that other fighters escaped with the other two police vehicles.
Al-Shabab, which wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu, claimed responsibility for the raid on Afgoi town, 30km southwest of Mogadishu.
The group’s military operations spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters his fighters had killed 12 officers in the raid on the Afgoi police station.
In the past, al-Shabab has exaggerated the number of soldiers it has killed, while officials have played down losses.
The attack came just days after security forces foiled an attempt by al-Shabab fighters to launch a suicide attack on a political conference in the central Somali town of Adado, killing three gunmen and the driver of a car packed with explosives.