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Somalia Says Its Military Killed at Least 30 Al-Shabab Militants

FILE - Somali soldiers are seen at a military base about 450 km south of Mogadishu, Somalia, June 13, 2018.
FILE - Somali soldiers are seen at a military base about 450 km south of Mogadishu, Somalia, June 13, 2018.

Somalia’s Information Ministry said Saturday the country’s military has targeted al-Shabab militants in the Hiran region.

The Somali National Army has killed more than 30 al-Shabab militants in an operation conducted on the outskirts of the town of Bulo-burde in the central region of Hiran.

That’s according to a statement Saturday by Somalia’s Information Ministry, which says the operation was conducted overnight after the army received intelligence.

The government says five of its soldiers were injured during the operation.

Hiran has seen increased military activity this month as the army claimed it had gained significant ground from the al-Qaida-affiliated militant group al-Shabab.

The group has not commented on the Somali government’s claim, but it said that an airstrike in the same region killed a traditional leader and other civilians. The information could not be independently confirmed.

Somalia’s Internal Security Ministry also said the country’s national intelligence and security agency, NISA, has arrested 10 al-Shabab operatives in the capital, Mogadishu.

Ministry spokesman Abdikamil Moalim Shukri said at a news conference in Mogadishu that NISA also seized three houses that al-Shabab was using.

He said special forces of the national intelligence and security agency, based on intelligence information, have destroyed an al-Shabab network that was behind killings and insecurity in Mogadishu. The intelligence forces have arrested 10 al-Shabab conspirators, including militants who were prepared to kill and doctors who were treating al-Shabab members, he added.

The Somali government recently announced its forces “liberated” 21 villages from al-Shabab in a fresh offensive in parts of the country.

The government also said it killed about 100 al-Shabab militants.

Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mahamud, who assumed office earlier this year, announced that his administration will wage a “total war” against the Islamist al-Shabab network after the group carried out a deadly hotel siege in Mogadishu that killed more than 20 people and wounded at least 100 others.