By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Atleast 19 members of the al-Shabaab terrorist group were killed on Sunday in a joint operation led by Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) in the country’s Lower Shabelle region, officials said.
The operation, which took place in Bula-Mohamed-Abdalla village on the outskirts Awdheegle, was conducted with the support of some of Somalia’s international partners working with the country on the security front, according Ahmed Abdiwahid, a security official in the region said.
Awdheegle is a strategic agricultural town located 84 kilometers (52 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu.
Vehicles and weapons belonging to al-Shabaab were also destroyed in the operation, according to the security official.
Lower Shabelle saw one of the deadliest attacks by al-Shabaab on a base of the African Union Transition Mission forces late last month.
Fifty-four soldiers from Uganda serving under the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia were killed during the attack in the town of Bulo Marer, some 110 kilometers (68 miles) south of Mogadishu.
The Somali National Army (SNA) has been battling the terrorists since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared a “total war” on them following his reelection in May last year.
Since then, the army has liberated large swathes of territories from al-Shabaab in the country’s south and central provinces, including the strategic coastal town of Harardhere, which had been under the group’s control for more than a decade.
On Friday, the terrorist group launched a deadly attack on the Pearl Beach Hotel and Restaurant in Mogadishu, a popular beachside establishment frequented by government officials, marking the fourth major attack by the group in the country in less than two weeks.
Al-Shabaab has been fighting the Somali government and the African Union mission in the country since 2007.
Somalia has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats from the al-Shabaab and the Daesh/ISIS terrorist groups.