Somalia forces claim to have killed militants in latest military operations

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MOGADISHU -- Somali security forces killed 38 al-Shabab militants in two separate operations carried out in the past two days.

In the first incident on Friday evening, the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) said its forces killed 20 al-Shabab militants and wounded several others after conducting a sting operation in an area between Ugunji and Mubarak in southern Somalia.

NISA said that the forces backed by the international partners jointly carried out the operation after receiving intelligence about the presence of al-Shabab who wanted to attack the locals.

"The operation to liberate al-Shabab militants from our country will not stop until they are flushed out of our land. We are thanking the Somali people and international partners for supporting us in the fight against the militants," NISA said in a statement issued in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

It said that the forces were still pursuing some militants who escaped during the operation.

In the second operation conducted early Saturday, the Somali National Army (SNA) said its forces killed 18 al-Shabab militants and wounded others after the group fighters attacked SNA and local forces' bases in the Masagaway district in central Somalia.

SNA Commander for Sector 27 in the region, Ahmed Mohamed Teredisho, told Radio Mogadishu that the troops foiled the terrorist attack.

"SNA and local forces foiled a terrorist attack in Masagaway town this morning, we killed 18 al-Shabab militants during the operation," Teredisho said.

The extremist group which is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government claimed to have captured the base and inflicted heavy casualties on SNA, a claim denied by SNA officials.

This comes as the second phase of the offensive operation against al-Shabab goes on in the central region of Somalia.

It also comes two days after another deadly attack on an SNA base in the same region on Thursday.

The Somali government forces have also been conducting offensive operations against al-Shabab militants in central and southern Somalia, flushing them out of several former strongholds, which it had held over decades.

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