Somalia: Allied troops capture key towns from al-Shabaab
BARIRE, Somalia- Somali National Army (SNA), along with U.S. forces and AMISOM on Saturday launched an offensive against al-Shabaab group, seizing towns in Lower Shabelle region, Garowe Online reports.
The joint forces, using helicopters and ground force encountered stiff resistance from militants during the fall of Bariire town, located about 60 kilometers south of Somali capital Mogadishu.
Government forces and AU tanks were visible encircling the town and moving cautiously into the Police stations and administrative offices, to secure the small town, where a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in May.
“Al-Shabaab fighters fled the town before allied forces moved-in and the troops are now conducting security operations to clear the town.” said a resident in Bariire who spoke to GO over the phone.
Reports from the region indicate, that Somali, US and AU troops have proceeded their offensive, and managed to capture Jannaale and Mubarak towns, and are currently heading to take the 4th town called Awdhegle.
The official said the operations against al-Shabaab will continue until they are cleared out of the region.
The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab militants continue to hold small rural areas in central and southern Somalia, but are being squeezed out by Somali and African Union forces.
Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government based in Mogadishu, which is protected by the 22,000-strong AMISOM force.