The Somali military in a joint operation with US forces killed nearly 100 al-Shabaab terrorists Wednesday in central Somalia, including seven top-ranking leaders, according to the country’s Information Ministry.
The Somali National Army (SNA) with the support of the US Army conducted air and ground operations near the villages of Gal-Libah and El Quraq, located on the border of Galgaduud and Middle Shabelle provinces.
“In that operation, nearly 100 members of the Khawarij (al-Shabaab), including leaders, were killed, while the place where they were plotting conspiracies was destroyed,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said Somalia is grateful for the US army’s assistance in destroying al-Shabaab terrorists who had gathered “to harass the Somali people.”
The SNA is still on the ground in pursuit of the Kharijites, as the Somali government refers to al-Shabaab.
“Today marks a significant step forward in our fight against insurgency. In a decisive operation in Middle Shabelle and Galgaduud…(seven) top-ranking leaders were neutralized,” Somalia’s Defense Ministry said in a separate statement on Twitter.
“Our commitment to securing our nation and protecting our citizens is stronger than ever. We stand together for a peaceful Somalia,” it added.
Early in the morning, the SNA killed at least 30 al-Shabaab terrorists, including two commanders, during a military operation.
It conducted the operation near El Quraq, the Defense Ministry said in an earlier statement posted on Twitter following the military operation.
The operation is part of a series of regular operations, the most recent of which occurred in Budbud and Weel Maarow, killing more than 70 Khawarij, the statement said.
Before the latest operation, the military said that about 200 militants from the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab terrorist group had been killed in military operations in a week.
The latest operation occurred a day after Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Jowhar, the administrative capital of the south-central state of Hirshabelle, which has been an epicenter of the terrorist group’s subversive activities.
Mohamud, who was elected for a second term last year, declared an “all-out war” on al-Shabaab, resulting in the terrorists losing large swaths of territory in central regions, including the coastal town of Harardhere, which had been under the militants’ control for more than a decade.
Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from al-Shabaab and the Daesh/ISIS terror groups.
Since 2007, al-Shabaab has been fighting the Somali government and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a multidimensional mission authorized by the African Union and mandated by the United Nations Security Council.