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AU, Somali Forces Target al-Shabab Training Camp

African Union (AU) soldiers patrol in front of their military base in the lower Shabelle region, outside Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 3, 2012.
African Union and Somali forces have launched a military operation against what they say is a major training camp for al-Shabab militants outside Somalia's capital.

The African Union Mission for Somalia (AMISOM) said in a statement Wednesday the operation aims to capture Lanta-Buro village, 40 kilometers west of Mogadishu.

Officials hope capturing the village will help secure the capital, which is preparing to host a constituent assembly that aims to end 12 years of transitional rule in Somalia.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab once controlled much of Somalia and nearly all of Mogadishu. But it has lost most of its territory during an 19-month offensive involving African Union forces, the Somali government, Ethiopia and Kenya.