Somali government forces have killed more than 600 Al Shabab terrorists, injured 1,200 others and recaptured 68 settlements in the last three months.

Somali military officers seen marching in a parade. — FILE
Somali military officers seen marching in a parade. — FILE (Reuters)

At least 49 Al Shabab terrorists have been killed in a military operation in the Lower Shabelle region, Somalia’s government has said, as security forces pushed ahead in a months-long campaign aimed at seizing territory long held by the group.

Somalia’s special forces, together with its intelligence agency and “international security partners”, destroyed a number of military vehicles and a weapons dump in Bulo-Madino village in Lower Shabelle region on Tuesday evening, the ministry of information said in a statement on Wednesday.

Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda franchise which controls large swathes of the country, claimed responsibility for two car bombs that killed at least 120 people in capital Mogadishu in October.

The militia’s restrictions on international aid have compounded the impact of the worst drought in four decades, officials say, leaving the country on the brink of famine.

Government forces, supported by clan militias and, at times, African Union troops, have made a number of battlefield gains against Al Shabab in the last three months.

READ MORE: Somalia army repulses Al Shabab attack on military base - Defence Ministry

Fight against terror

Four residents of Afgoye district, around 25 km north-west of Mogadishu, said they heard large explosions on Tuesday evening, but were not aware of the village’s location or of the number of casualties.

“Last night, the whole earth shook. We heard two huge air strikes,” said Ali Farah, a local bus driver.

The United States’ military has conducted several air strikes against the Al Shabab this year, but said it was not involved in Tuesday’s raid.

Government forces have killed more than 600 Al Shabab militants, injured 1,200 others and recaptured 68 settlements in the last three months, as part of Somalia’s “military, economic and ideological” war on the insurgents, Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre also said in a statement on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Somali army kills senior Al Shabab militant, frees hostages

Source: Reuters