Soldiers and civilians were killed when the insurgents used car bombs in an assault on a military base in central Somalia, triggering a fight.

Al Shabab fighters usually attack bases run by government forces, but the army repel and pushed them back
Al Shabab fighters usually attack bases run by government forces, but the army repel and pushed them back (Abdiqani Hassan / Reuters)

At least 30 people have been killed when Somalia's al Shabab group launched an attack in the country's semi-autonomous state of Galmudug, a security official said.

The insurgents used car bombs in the assault on a military base in Wisil town on Sunday, triggering a fight with government troops and armed locals, Major Mohamed Awale, a military officer in Galmudug told Reuters news agency.

"They attacked the base with two car bombs and fierce fighting that lasted over an hour followed," he said.

Thirty people, including 17 soldiers and 13 civilians, died in the fighting, Awale said.

"The car bombs damaged the military vehicles...residents were well armed and reinforced the base and chased the al Shabab."

The al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabab has been fighting in Somalia for more than a decade to try to topple the country’s central government and establish rule based on its interpretation of Sharia.

Fighters from the group frequently carry out gun and bomb assaults on a range of both civilian and military targets including busy traffic intersections, hotels and military bases.

READ MORE: Somali president extends his mandate for two years despite donor concerns

During the attack that lasted about an hour, Abdullahi Mohamed, a resident in Wisil said he and others had "crept and slept on the ground," and added he had personally seen about 30 people injured in the assault.

READ MORE: Somalia - Many dead in minibus explosion caused by landmine

The fighting lasted for more than two hours, according to a statement posted on the website of the Somalia state news agency, SONNA, adding that the armed group suffered heavy casualties in the fighting.

Those injured in the attack, the statement said, had been airlifted to the capital Mogadishu for treatment.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack via a statement on its Radio Al Andalus and said its fighters had killed over 30 soldiers and injured over 40 others.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies