Somalia’s government said Saturday that a military operation in the country’s Lower and Middle Shabelle and Hiran regions killed more than 100 extremist al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab militants.
Somalia’s deputy information minister Abdirahman Yusuf Omar Adala said the operation took place on the outskirts of the village of El-Dhere at the border of the Lower and Middle Shabelle regions and in the central province of Hiran, killing more than 100 al-Shabab fighters, including 10 “ringleaders.”
Speaking to the media in the capital, Mogadishu, he added that the operation was conducted by the country’s army, backed by locals and international partners.
“The operation targeted more than 200 al-Shabab militants, including 12 leaders, who were gathering for an attack on the Somali military,” Yusuf stated.
He welcomed the increase in the number of Shabab fighters who defected from the movement and surrendered to the army since the start of military operations last August, without specifying their number.
Al-Shabab had claimed responsibility of an attack against an army convoy in the Ceelasha Biyaha district on the outskirts of Mogadishu on Sunday. Twelve soldiers were killed and 20 others were wounded in the attack.
Al-Shabab first emerged in 2004. The group has launched several terrorist attacks in Somalia, killing hundreds of people.
Government forces, supported by clan militias, have made a number of battlefield gains against al-Shabab in the last three months, regaining territory long held by the group.