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The clashes between al-Shabab fighters and Somali government forces backed by Kenyan troops broke out on Tuesday between Taabta town and Qoqani of lower Jubba, near the Kenyan border.
Somali officials said al-Shabab fighters launched an attack on a convoy carrying Kenyan troops and Somali soldiers, leading to exchange of heavy weapons.
Al-Shabab officials in Lower region claimed that they killed dozens of Kenyan troops.
"We have ambushed Kenyan infidels convoy near Taabta after they went over landmines that we buried, We have killed more than 18 Kenyan soldiers, captured several weapons and burned down three of their military vehicles," said al-Shabab chairman in Lower and Middle Jubba regions Sheikh Abukar Ali Aden.
He added that they will continue such attacks until Kenya withdraw their forces from Somalia.
Mohamed Dahir Afrah, a government spokesman in Lower Jubba, said the two sides have been exchanging heavy artillery and machine gunfire. He denied any casualties on the sides.
Last October, Kenya sent soldiers over its border into Somalia to pursue al-Shabab.
The Kenyan military claims to have killed hundreds of Somali fighters, but eyewitnesses said civilians are the victims of the airstrikes.