Somalia: Govt forces capture villages from Al Shabaab
GARBAHAREY, Somalia - Somali government forces on Monday recaptured key villages in southern Gedo region as the military intensified attacks against the militant group Al-Shabaab, Garowe Online reports.
Colonel Ahmed Ibrahim, a Somali army commander, told GO that the forces launched a major offensive against the militants early in the morning, capturing strategic areas between Bardere and Garbaharey.
Ibrahim said Monday's operation was launched to secure main supply routes in the region, which has witnessed the surge in Al Shabaab attacks against government-controlled towns near the border with Kenya.
"There was no major resistance, and the extremists fled when our troops approached. They have emptied their rural pockets between Garbaharey Bardere towns," he added.
The latest takeover came amid increased military operations in the southern regions of the country, conducted jointly by African Union forces [AMISOM] and the Somali National Army [SNA] soldiers.
The allied forces hope to flush out Al Shabaab militants and liberate the whole country ahead of the AMISOM's planned gradual withdrawal, starting by the end of this month.
The group, however, has bounced back from similar defeats in the past -- maintaining its capacity to conduct ambushes in rural areas as well as high-profile raids inside Mogadishu.