Somalia, AU forces conduct operation against Al Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali National Army (SNA) forces, along with African Union peacekeeping soldiers launched an operation in villages near Qoryoley town, a day after an ambush attack left 7 soldiers dead.
The operation was aimed to disrupt the group’s militants’ activities and deny them access to strategic areas of the town, some 120km southwest of Somali capital Mogadishu.
In phone interview, Somali army chief, Colonel Hussein Hosh says the operation would continue until the militants are eliminated.
“This joint operation is a strong message to the Al Shabaab fighters, they better surrender and abandon their barbaric acts against the civilian population”, Hosh said.
He says Somali army backed by African Union forces conducted a joint operation to flash out the armed fighters from villages near Qoryoley town.
Somali-based group of Al Shabaab claimed to have killed at least seven peacekeeping soldiers with the African Union (AU) in an attack in Gaywarow area near Qoyoley town.
The group says the peacekeeping forces were dealt a heavy blow during the surprise attack.
There was no immediate comment from African Union mission in Somali capital Mogadishu over the claims made by Al Shabaab.
The Al-Shabab has been waging an insurgency in Somalia for more than 10 years.
A 22,000-strong African Union force is in the country to help the government fight the al-Qaeda-linked militants.
The group has been driven out of many urban areas since 2011, however it still controls territory in rural areas and carries out gun attacks and bombings on military and civilian targets.
With Reporting by Abdirisak Mohamud Tuuryare from Mogadishu, Somalia