Somali National Army (SNA), backed by African Union forces, on Sunday killed three Al-Shabaab extremists in Hiraan, in central Somalia, an official confirmed.
“We were going to carry out an operation in the area when the militants intercepted us but our forces overpowered them, killing three of the militants,” said Mohamed Ali Mohamed, deputy governor of Jala Laqsi town in charge of security.
Clashes broke out in Jala Laqsi after the militants ambushed a convoy carrying Somali troops and AU forces, he said.
The allied forces also recovered weapons from militants, Mohamed said.
Witnesses said the clashes were fierce.
“A public service vehicle that Al-Shabaab militants were on board ambushed government forces travelling on the road. Shortly, both sides exchanged heavy fire causing panic in the area,” Hamdi Ali, a resident, told Xinhua by phone.
On July 20, Somali troops killed three Al-Shabaab militants, capturing another one alive in another operation in Awdinle, a town in the country’s southern region of Bay.
Forces have intensified operations against militants in central and southern Somalia, but Al-Shabaab still holds sway in rural areas in the regions, conducting ambushes and planting landmines.
Al-Shabaab also commented on Sunday’s attack, saying they killed a number of government and AU troops.