Al-Shabab commander Bashe Nure Hassan was among several militants killed Saturday during an attack in Kuday, in the southern Somali region of Jubaland, Somali military officials said.
Mohamud Ahmed Hersi, a senior Somali military commander in the region, told VOA that joint troops from the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) and the Somali National Army were responding to an attack by the militants on a Somali base.
"The militants were remobilizing to attack our base in Kuday," but with support from the KDF, "we managed to pre-empt their offensive," Hersi told VOA's Somali service.
He said three militants were killed during the attack, and "among them was Bashe Nure Hassan, who was in charge of the militants' surveillance, logistics and supplies in the area."
Hersi said there were no casualties among the Somali or Kenyan troops.
Hassan, who was born and raised in the area and joined the terrorist group several years ago, was thought to be among the senior-level al-Shabab military commanders in the region. Somali military officials think he led major attacks on the Somali bases and those of the Kenyan troops in the region.
In a statement, KDF public affairs officer Colonel Joseph Owuoth confirmed the attack and the killing of the al-Shabab commander.
"Al-Shabab commander Bashe Nure Hassan was one of those killed. Three AK-47 rifles, 11 magazines, a satellite phone and 290 rounds of ammunition were captured during the mission," Owuoth said.
Kuday, a small island 130 kilometers southwest of Kismayo port town, was once al-Shabab's stronghold in the region, used as a key base for logistical and operational work and as a launching point for attacks in southern Somalia.
In March 2015, KDF soldiers serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somalia troops captured the island from al-Shabab, but since then, the troops have been coming under frequent attacks by militants.
Before joining AU peacekeepers, Kenyan troops crossed the border into Somalia in October 2011, after militant cross-border attacks and abductions, including the kidnapping of two Spanish women who were working for the medical charity Doctors Without Borders at the Dadaab refugee camp.