Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers were on Friday morning attacked by the militia group Al Shabaab at a military base in the southern town of Kulbiyow, Somalia, near the Kenyan border.
Heavy explosion and gunfire were reportedly heard at the camp when the onslaught was launched at around 2 am.
Confirming the attack, Military Spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Njuguna told the Nation.co.ke: "We are under massive attack and there is a massive exchange of fire."
Speaking to Reuters, Shabaab's military operation spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab claimed they had taken over the military camp and had killed 57 KDF soldiers.
"Two mujahideen (fighters) rammed suicide car bombs into the base in Kulbiyow town before storming it," he said, adding that alongside counting 57 Kenyan bodies the group seized vehicles and weapons.
According to the Voice of America, the militants drove a truck filled with explosives and detonated them inside the base, followed by heavy gunfire and an infantry attack.
KDF, however, divulged that it had destroyed the two suicide vehicles fitted with improvised explosive devices.
Col. Njuguna dismissed Al Shabaab's claims as false but he did not disclose any details on the number of casualties.
Heavy fighting is currently ongoing with the number of casualties still unknown.
The attack comes a year after the January 2016 El Adde attack which is believed to have claimed over 100 Kenyan soldiers.
The Kenyan military has, however, never confirmed the number of soldiers it lost during the last year attack.
The KDF spokesman has since refuted claims that the military base was overrun by the outlawed group. Col. Njuguna stated that the soldiers repulsed the enemy before going after them in an intensive pacification mission.
Here is a statement from KDF:
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