Somali Government Says 21 Al-Shabab Militants Killed

The Somali government Sunday said its elite soldiers have killed 21 al-Shabab militants and wounding 10 others in an operation in the country’s lower Shabelle region. 

In a statement Sunday, the Ministry of Information said its elite soldiers from the National Intelligence and Security Agency, or NISA, conducted a fresh operation against the al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Shabab.

The operation took place after intelligence forces received a tip saying al-Shabab was planning to carry out attacks to “harm the Somali people,” according to the statement.

The planned operation took place in the village of Galka Salimow in the lower Shabelle region.

The government didn’t say if the operation was an airstrike or a ground operation.

“The operation was executed as planned and destroyed all militants who were there plotting against the people of Somalia,” said the statement issued by the information ministry.

In the statement, the government said that 200 al-Shabab militants were killed in four days. VOA couldn’t independently verify the claim.

The new operation comes a day after a suicide bomber blew himself up near a military training facility in the capital, Mogadishu, killing several people. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying it killed 105 soldiers.

Military sources told VOA Sunday that 15 new recruits were killed in the attack.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s religious affairs ministry issued a statement banning religious scholars from having dealings with the group and said that al-Shabab should be called a “deviant sect.”

Somalia has been grappling with security threats for years, with al-Shabab Islamists being one of the main threats in the country.

The militants have increased their attacks since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May and vowed an “all-out war” against al-Shabab.

The group has been fighting in the Horn of Africa nation, targeting Somali government officials and African Union peacekeepers since 2007.

Late last month, twin car bombings by al-Shabab in the capital took the lives of more than 100 people and wounded more than 300 others.

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