al shabaab somalia
Al-Shabaab militants often carry out attacks against Somalian and Kenyan troops accused of occupying the Somali lands.Reuters

Members of Somalian terror group al-Shabaab have killed at least 10 soldiers during an ambush at a military base in southern Somalia.

It is believed that two military vehicles were also burned in the attack, Reuters reported.

Who are al-Shabaab militants?

Al-Shabaab, which means "The Youth", is a Somali terror group affiliated to al-Qaida.

Al-Shabaab aims to overthrow the Somali government and impose its own version of Islam in the country. It is an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union , a rival administration to the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab controlled Mogadishu and the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when it was defeated by African Union peacekeepers.

The group often carries out attacks in Kenya, in retaliation to the deployment of Kenyan troops in Somalia in 2011.

"Al Shabaab attacked our military forces at 3 am [in the Lower Shabelle region]," Somali military officer Aden Nur told Reuters.

"They killed 10 soldiers and burnt two military vehicles [equipped] with anti-aircraft guns."

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Shabaab's military spokesman, released a statement in which he said that the group claimed responsibility for the attack. The spokesman said 14 soldiers were killed and three vehicles were burned.

However, Reuters said the militants often declare a higher death toll than the one stated by officials.

The ambush is part of Shabaab's offensive against Somali and Kenyan troops, which have been deployed in efforts to halt the group's insurgence.

Shabaab is suspected of being behind an recent attack at Mogadishu airport that left at least seven people dead, as a suicide bomber rammed his car into a UN convoy.

The suicide attack was carried out a few days after the militants massacred 36 Christians in northern Kenya and vowed that more attacks "against the occupation of Somali lands" would follow.

Al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for a bus attack in Kenya that targeted non-Muslims in November.

In 2013, at least 67 people were killed during al-Shabaab's four-day-long siege at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

In July, the militants killed civilians and government soldiers in an attack aimed at Somalia's President Hasan Sheik Mohamud.