Somalia: Twelve more members of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militants were Wednesday killed in an operation by the Kenya Defence Forces in Bula Gaduud area, Somalia.
This brought to 34, the number of the militants killed in the same town since Monday. On Monday, 22 followers of the group were killed in a similar operation.
During the operation that happened at about 9 pm on Wednesday, one vehicle belonging to the militants was destroyed and several bullets and weapons recovered.
According to KDF, several other militants escaped with injuries and withdrew towards Jammame.
“The capture of Bula Gaduud two days ago by KDF was part of the Amisom Operation Indian Ocean and is a major blow to Al Shaaab. The town lies on a strategic corridor that the militants have used to infiltrate Sector two under KDF,” read part of a statement from KDF spokesman Col David Obonyo.
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Other reports suggested the KDF and SNA personnel were in Bula Gadud ahead of a planned assault on Jilib that is one of the towns occupied by the militants.
The operation in Bula Gadud seemed to coincide with that of Somali government troops backed by African Union (AU) forces who have taken the last coastal stronghold Barawe of the al-Shabab Islamist group.
Barawe, 220km south-west of the capital Mogadishu, has not been run by the central government for 23 years.
The AU says Al-Shabab used Barawe as a base to launch attacks on the capital.
Residents said many of the Al-Qaeda-aligned militants had begun withdrawing from the key port town on Friday.
Al-Shabab has lost control of several towns in the past month, but still controls large swathes of territory in rural areas.
The loss of Barawe - after six years under their control - comes a month after Al-Shabaab's leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed by a US air strike near the town.
The group, which is estimated to have at least 5,000 fighters, wants to overthrow the UN-backed Somali government and has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control.
KDF moved to Somalia in 2011 to hunt down the militants who have been blamed for several insecurity related incidents. The troops under Amisom have managed to liberate a number of towns since then.