Somalia's Shebab insurgents killed three Somali soldiers and wounded at least seven others including civilians in a roadside bomb Thursday in the southern port town of Kismayo, officials and witnesses said.
The homemade bomb was reported to have been hidden near a tree close to a military checkpoint.
"Three soldiers including a commander were killed, and seven others were wounded in the bomb explosion," said local government security official Abdulahi Ahmed Suldan.
Kismayo, wrested from Al-Qaeda affiliate Shebab in 2012 by Kenyan troops -- who later joined the 22,000-strong African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) -- is now controlled by a local federal government.
The Shebab said in a statement that they had carried out the bomb attack, the latest in a string of bombings and killings targeting government forces.
Witnesses said several of the wounded were civilians who were passing by the area when the bomb exploded.
"The explosion was very heavy, and a big crater was caused by the blast," resident Abdiqadar Hassan said. "I saw the body parts ripped off by the blast being collected."
Other witnesses said some people were wounded amid heavy shooting in the confusion following the explosion.
The Shebab, fighting to overthrow Somalia's internationally-backed and AU-protected government, has launched a string of similar attacks.