MOGADISHU, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) — The Somali National Army killed more than 30 al-Shabab fighters on Saturday evening in operations in central Somalia.
“The operation resulted in the death of 30 fighters, the destruction of four vehicles, and the seizure of two more vehicles and weapons,” the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism said in a statement released on Saturday evening in Mogadishu.
“We are grateful to the brave citizens who chose to stand against the enemy. We are united in our mission to eradicate al-Shabab,” it added.
The ministry also confirmed that Mohamed Bashir Muse, a senior al-Shabab leader, was among the 30 fighters killed during the operations. It said the joint military operations are underway in areas under Mahaday district in Middle Shabelle region targeting senior al-Shabab fighters hiding near river banks.
Residents said the armed forces and the local forces have taken full control of Sargo and Qodqod villages in the region of Mudug.
The move came as the African Union Transition Mission is expected to scale down its troops this month by a further 3,000 personnel after successfully withdrawing 2,000 troops and handing over six military bases to the Somali side in June. The withdrawal of 3,000 AU troops in the second phase is expected to be completed by the end of September. ■