(CNN) -- Somali government forces and African Union troops pushed militants out of long-held positions in Mogadishu on Wednesday amid fierce fighting in the northwestern part of the capital.
The head of an ambulance group told CNN that at least 16 people have been killed and at least 35 wounded in the most recent round of clashes.
Ali Musa did not say whether the casualties came from civilians, the military or insurgents. But Musa did describe the fighting as the deadliest he had seen in recent times.
On Wednesday, African Union peacekeepers and Somali troops took control of several strategic locations formerly held by Al-Shabaab fighters, according to a statement from the Somali Defense Department.
One of the locations captured was the former Ministry of Defense, which al-Shabaab insurgents have used as an operational base, officials said. A former milk factory and a military officers club were also taken. All were situated along one of the main roads in the Somali capital, known as "the industrial road," the statement said.
The recent military push was designed to inhibit al-Shabaab's ability to hide behind noncombatants, according to the statement. The capture of these locations should result in a "drastic" reduction of civilian casualties in the city, it said.
Raging street battles in the capital in recent days have pitted government troops, backed by the African Union, against the jihadist movement Al-Shabaab, which controls much of southern Somalia.
Al-Shabaab is waging a war against Somalia's government in an effort to implement a stricter form of Islamic law, or sharia. Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991, and fighting between the rebels and government troops has escalated the humanitarian crisis in the famine-ravaged country.
CNN's Mohamed Amiin Adow contributed to this report.