At least four soldiers were killed and three others injured early Sunday when al-Shabaab militants attacked an army checkpoint in central Somalia, according to a police official.
Hiiran Police Commander Col. Issak Ali Abdulle said the attack occurred in Kalabayr, a strategic road junction some 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) away from Beledweyne town and about 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from Fer-Fer, a town at the border between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Al-Shabaab claimed it killed six troops in the attack.
The injured soldiers were taken to Beledweyne town for treatment, the police commander added.
Since last week, al-Shabaab has briefly overrun army checkpoints in Bulagudud, Beled-Hawo, El-wak and Kalabayr.
Earlier this month, at least two people were killed in a suspected al-Shabaab suicide bombing at a busy restaurant in Beledweyne town.
Beledweyne, 345 kilometers (214miles) north of capital Mogadishu, is the regional capital of Hiran. The town is also a base for African Union troops from Djibouti and Ethiopia.