Somali forces backed by African Union troops captured two villages in Hiraan region from Al-Shabaab fighters after fierce fighting, AMISOM and SNA officials.
The seized villages, Berhani and Berdere both located 30 KM south of Beledweyne have been under the control of Al-Shabaab fighters in the recent months.
Farah Kulmiye Adow, SNA officer in Hiraan said the troops have stepped up their operations to smoke out Al-Shabaab fighters in the region.
“On Monday our forces supported by AU troops have left their bases and headed to several villages controlled by Al-Shabaab. In less than an hour fighting, the troops managed to take control of two villages and Al-Shabaab fighters fled,” said Adow.
He noted that the troops will proceed to other areas under the control of Al-Shabaab.
“Our troops will keep on moving until we annihilate Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers from Hiraan region,” he assured.
Hassan Jamaa, the commander of Djiboutian soldiers serving under African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), said the joint troops seized two villages south of Beledweyne town.
“Al-Shabaab rebels did not mount any resistance and fled the settlements as Somali National Army (SNA) soldiers and Djiboutian forces of AMISOM contingent entered the town,” Jama said.
Jamaa vowed to continue their operation until the Al-Shabaab threat is dealt with and group liberated from their remaining towns and villages in Hiiraan region.
Threats from Al-Shabaab fighters have increased in the run-up to the delayed vote, originally due in August.
AMISOM troops are helping the Somali government battle Al-Shabaab militants, who have carried out frequent attacks in the country.