At least twenty people are feared dead and several injured after a suicide attacker drove a bomb-laden car into a police station just outside the Somali capital.
A UPDF contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) is, along with Somali troops, responsible for the security around the area of Afgoye, which has come under attack today.
“Many militants have entered the town” of Afgoye, 30km (18 miles) north-west of Mogadishu, a police major said.
Islamist militant group al-Shabab had earlier said it was is now in control of the town but this has not been verified. It also claims to have killed 35 Somalia soldiers in the attack. Local media is reporting that 20 people have been killed. However, there is no word from government officials yet.
The group has been forced out of most towns but remains in many rural areas. Some reports indicate that the group has been forced out of the town.
“Somalia National Army & AMISOM remain in control of Afgoye town, vigilant to thwart such desperate attempts by terrorists,” AMISOM tweeted later.
Police major Nur Osman had earlier told Reuters news agency that heavy fighting was still ongoing in the town but al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said that the militants had seized control. There is no word on casualties on the army side.
A witness told AFP news agency that it was unclear what was going on. “We don’t know who is controlling the city so far because heavy exchange of gunfire is going on,” he said.
Another witness said that the attack came as a surprise, adding that “people are hiding in their houses and those who stayed outside have fled”.
A Ugandan army spokesman, speaking for the African Union, said that al-Shabab fighters have been ousted from Afgoye, but that has not been confirmed.
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops captured Afgoye town in 2012.
AMISOM has been tweeting about the al-Shabab attack on the town of Afgoye, near the capital, Mogadishu.
It insists that it and the Somali army are still in control of the town