MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali Special Forces have launched an operation to hunt down al Shabab militants in Janale, an agricultural town, some 80 kilometers (49 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.
The Special Forces managed to re-capture six new areas – Bulo Arundi, Malable, Sigale, Busley, Da’ud and Beraha-Bay – from al Shabab, an al Qaeda – linked group.
Speaking to the media, a senior regional security official, Ali Mahdi Berdide, said that the group’s militants fled shortly after the US-trained Special Forces moved into the rebel-controlled areas in Janale town of Lower Shabelle region.
Berdide says the forces destroyed the group’s hideouts and their mobile courts during the operation.
“We have destroyed al Shabab camps and mobile courts in which they used to extort money from the local people. They fled as we entered into their hideouts and courts”, he said.
He added that the new areas taken over from Al-Shabaab were home to families displaced from other areas Bay region due to a widespread drought.
The military forces, he said, had provided assistance to people in need, saying their crops and farm products had been seized by al Shabab militants and burned them to ashes.
Despite being driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, the al Shabab group continues to carry out suicide and gun attacks in and around the capital.
The group still holds large swaths in south and central Somalia.