Kenya’s military said Wednesday it had killed 21 al-Shabab fighters in Somalia where its troops are attempting to defeat the militant Islamist group that has frequently struck civilian targets inside Kenya.

In Somalia as part of an African Union (AU) deployment, Kenyan troops struck a group of al-Shabab fighters in the west of the country, near the Kenyan border, David Obonyo, a representative of the Kenya Defense Forces, said in a statement.

Al-Shabab representative Abdiasis abu Musab said its fighters had killed five soldiers, wounded eight and burnt one military vehicle in the fighting. The reports could not be independently verified.

Al-Shabab, a hardline Islamic extremist group, ruled large parts of Somalia until 2011, when it was driven out of Mogadishu by AU and Somali troops. It still controls some rural areas and carries out frequent attacks in the capital and other areas in its attempt to dislodge the Western-backed government.

In January, Kenyan troops took heavy losses when al-Shabab conducted a dawn raid on their camp in El Adde near the Kenyan border. Al-Shabab said it killed more than 100 soldiers. Kenya gave no exact casualty figure.

The group killed 148 students at Garissa University in northeastern Kenya in April 2015, the worst militant attack in the country in almost two decades. And an al-Shabab attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi in September 2013 killed 67 people.