Mortar shell explosion near Qoryoley town in Lower Shabelle region kills about 27 people, mainly children, and wounds 53, state media say.

Iran PressAfrica: At least 27 people, including two children, have been killed and 53 others wounded in southern Somalia when mortar shells exploded, a local official and state media said.

"This disaster happened today near Qoryoley town. They were playing with a mortar shell that did not go off. It exploded on them. Twenty of them died and others are injured," Abdi Ahmed, deputy district commissioner of Qoryoley told reporters earlier.

Residents said that the unexploded shells, which were being played with by the children, were used by the waring factions in Somalia.

The region is a target of Al Shabab terror group, which has waged an insurgency against the internationally backed Somali federal government since 2007.

Last month, the group affiliated with Al Qaeda killed 54 Ugandan peacekeepers in an attack on an African Union base in Bulo Marer, a town around 30 kilometres from Qoryoley.