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Security officials in the notorious Al-Shabaab zone in Southwest shot and killed a senior Al-Shabaab commander in the southern part of the country, reports indicate, in the latest dramatic gains against the militants, who have continued to wreak havoc in the Horn of Africa nation.

Officials said an operation waged by the Southwest regional forces and the Somali National Army [SNA] left Ibrahim Moalim Abdi alias Ibrahim Ganey dead, ending several years of search. The militant had been on surveillance for several years now according to security forces.

A second militant whose identity is yet to be established escaped from the scene and security officers are pursuing him in the nearby thickets. The operation between Bardale and Awdinle also saw several sophisticated weapons seized and have since been handed over to experts for ballistic tests.

Moalim has been coordinating Al-Shabaab operations in Southwest and is believed to be the force behind attacks targeting security forces and civilians in the region. Records by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] shows that he’s been coordinating ambush at military bases.

His death, officials said, is significant in the fight against the Al-Shabaab militants, who still control large swathes of rural southern and central Somalia. It is not clear if he was among those targeted by the US Africa Command, which is known for targeting the militants and their commanders.

The death also comes barely a fortnight after security forces confirmed the death of Abdikadir Commandos, a senior Al-Shabaab operative within the Lower Shabelle region, who was killed in a US coordinated airstrike in the southern part of Somalia. The US military announced his death about two weeks after his death.

The US is currently running operations targeting Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups across Africa, but the emphasis has been put in Somalia due to the growing influence of Al-Shabaab and ISIS teams, with reports indicating that they are heavily funded by outsiders.

General Stephen Townsend, the commander US Africa Command, said over the weekend that the terrorists will not be given chance to expand their territories in Africa. He insisted that the team will continue working with other security forces to eliminate the threat.

“Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization aligned with al-Qaeda has expressed their intent to do harm to Americans,” he said in a statement during the commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, which left thousands of people dead in 2001 both at New York and Washington DC.

“Our resolve remains strong. We are not tired. We will continue to stand watch and fight when necessary to ensure groups like al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and ISIS cannot bring harm to Americans or our allies at home and abroad,” he added.