The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali government forces have killed several al-Shabab commanders in the lower Shabelle region.
Six leaders of the al-Qaida linked Islamist militant group were killed Tuesday.
Reuters reported the head of al-Shabab’s intelligence arm in the region, the Amniyat, Hassan Ali Dhoore, was killed. A militant spokesman said Dhoore was killed, but did not confirm the other deaths.
According to an AMISOM statement the mission aims to intensify its war against al-Shabab.
“Al-Shabab are more frequently resorting to hit and run tactics to avoid direct contact with AMISOM and remain relevant,” AMISOM Brigadier General Sam Okiding said.
The African Union force said among the al-Shabab leaders killed are Aden Bale, Janaale area second in command Sheik Mohamed Ali, al-Shabab judge Mohamed Abribao, regional intelligence chief Hassan Ali Dole, a Yemeni improvised explosive device expert known as “Abu Islam,” and Kenyan Sheikh Mansur.
AMISOM said officials are working to “open the main supply route” and clear improvised explosive devices in the city of Janale.
“The clearance activities are meant to ease the movement of the population and goods,” the statement said.
In 2011, AMISOM and the Somali National Army forced the Islamist group out of areas south of Mogadishu. But the militants still control some rural areas and carry out attacks in the capital and other areas.