Somalia says its army, supported by international partners, have conducted an operation in the country’s lower Shabelle region that killed 49 al-Shabab militants.
A statement issued by the Somali Information Ministry late Wednesday said the military operation took place in the village of Buulo Madiino, in the country’s Lower Shabelle region.
VOA could not independently verify the Somali government’s death toll but residents in region reported that they heard explosions.
“The targeted operation went as planned and destroyed all the military vehicles and weaponry of the Khawarij Al-Shabaab,” said the ministry in a statement. Khawarij is a term for someone who deviates from Islam.
The government said the militants were hit while planning to attack the Somali people. It also said there had been airstrikes involved in the operation, but it did not mention which country conducted the strikes.
It comes days after Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited frontline towns in the central regions of Hiran and Galgadud.
Mohamud, who was re-elected president earlier this year, has declared a “total war” against al-Shabab.
The group, meanwhile, has increased their attacks since Mohamud was elected leader.
Attacks include a rare July incursion into neighboring Ethiopia that authorities say left hundreds of militants dead and a twin car bombing in Mogadishu in October that killed 120 people.