Islamist militants have stormed a military base in southern Somalia after detonating a suicide car bomb.

The al-Shabab militant group says it killed 27 soldiers in the raid, which began just after early morning prayers.

According to BBC News, a Somali military officer said reinforcements had been sent to the area, about 31 miles from the port city of Kismayo, but did not give further details about the attack.

Al-Shabab has been waging an insurgency in Somalia for more than 10 years.

A 22,000-strong African Union force is in the country to help the government fight the al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The US military also has a presence of several hundred troops in Somalia to carry out special operations and to train government forces.

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