At least 61 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed and dozens others wounded in Somalia after an operation by the country’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Information Ministry said on Monday.
The operation against al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group was backed by Somalia’s international partners in the country’s south-central province of Middle Shabelle.
The ministry said in a statement that the operation targeted Khawarij militias, and estimated 150 who were planning to attack the national army and the local forces in Hawadlay.
The government said the terrorists were also hit while they were preparing to plant explosives in the area.
Somalia’s deputy Information Minister Abdirahman Yusuf al-Adalla, who spoke to journalists in the capital Mogadishu, said the group were inflicted heavy defeat and “the conspiracies they have been working on to destroy the national army camp on the outskirts of Hawadley” were foiled.
It is the first such operation conducted by the army backed by the international partners against the terrorist fighters in the Horn of Africa nation since the beginning of the year.
The Middle Shabelle region has seen an increased military operations since Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” on the group after his re-election last year.
The military, last month said it had liberated the strategic town of Runirgod that the army said was the last remaining al-Shabaab stronghold in the region.
Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab being one of the main threats.
It has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces since at least 2007, claiming thousands of lives.
The UN has warned of growing instability in the country, with periodic reports last year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh/ISIS terror groups.
There were at least 1,518 civilian casualties – 651 killed and 867 injured – in terror attacks in Somalia in 2018, followed by 1,459 – 591 killed and 868 injured – in 2019, according to UN estimates.
Source: Anadolu Agency