Kenyan forces have killed nearly 60 suspected members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militant group during intense clashes in southern Somalia.

According to a Kenyan military spokesman, Kenyan troops under the African Union command fought against al-Shabab Takfiri militants in Afmadow, a town which is located approximately 100 kilometers inland from the port of Kismayo.

“In the onslaught, 57 al-Shabab militants were killed and unknown number injured,” Col. Joseph Owuoth said in a statement on Thursday.

He further said that at least five gun-mounted pickup trucks known as "technicals" were also demolished during the clashes.

According to Kenyan authorities, nine soldiers lost their lives in the assault.

This is while al-Shabab put the number of soldiers it killed at nearly 66.

The al-Shabab militant group intends to overthrow the central government and push out the African Union mission, known as AMISOM, to Somalia.

AMISOM is made up of troops from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia, and other African countries.

Al-Shabab once controlled over many parts of Somalia, including the capital city Mogadishu.

Last January, the militant group said it had killed more than 100 Kenyan soldiers in El Adde, a Somali camp near the border with Kenya.

It had also kidnapped at least three Kenyan teachers from Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya.