Somalia’s military says it has liberated more territory from al-Shabab, including a strategic town that had been under the group’s control for 15 years.
The Somali military said Wednesday that its forces have conducted a fresh offensive against al-Shabab fighters and recaptured the small, but strategic town Wabho and key villages in the country’s central province of Galgadud.
The army, backed by local clan militia, engaged in heavy fighting with the militant group beginning in the early hours of Tuesday, according to Mahas District Commissioner Mumin Mohamed Halane, who spoke to VOA by phone Wednesday.
Defense ministry spokesman Abdullahi Ali Anod held a news conference Wednesday and said the latest offensive against the group has been successful.
He says, “The forces took over Wabho, which is a big town,” adding, “Last night the forces captured the village of Warhole, and yesterday Elbore and Elgorof.”
The spokesman said the liberated territories are a “well populated area that has water wells, posture and agricultural lands.”
Al-Shabab did not comment on the army’s claim but said it had killed 15 soldiers, including officials, in bomb blasts and fighting on the outskirts of the town of Mahas.
The militants have increased their attacks since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office in May and vowed an “all-out war” against al-Shabab.
Earlier this week, the Somali government said its forces killed 200 al-Shabab militants over a four-day period.