18 terrorists killed, 'strategic' al-Shabaab assets destroyed in Somalia operation

At least 18 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in military operations in central Somalia, the army said on Thursday.

A key base used by the terror group was also destroyed in raids by the Somali military in Buq Aqable, a district in the Hiran region.

The operation successfully targeted “stations, offices and other terrorist sites” in the Buq Aqable area, which is about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Hiran’s capital Beledweyne, according to an army statement.

These were “strategic” assets that al-Shabaab used to organize attacks on Somali forces and civilians, it added.

The latest operation comes days after the Somali military said it killed 100 al-Shabaab terrorists and freed 20 villages in a major offensive in three states.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who took office this May, has declared a “total war” on al-Shabaab after last month’s deadly hotel siege in the capital Mogadishu – a 30-hour attack that killed at least 21 people and injured nearly 120 others.

Somalia has been grappling with increasing insecurity for years, with al-Shabaab being one of the main threats in the Horn of Africa country.

Since at least 2007, al-Shabaab has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces that has claimed thousands of lives.

The United Nations has also warned of growing instability in the country, with its periodic reports on Somalia this year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and pro-Daesh/ISIS groups.

There were at least 1,518 civilian casualties – 651 killed and 867 injured – in terrorist attacks in Somalia in 2018, followed by 1,459 – 591 killed and 868 injured – in 2019, according to UN in Somalia.​​​​​​​