Somali military kills 30 al-Shabab militants in southern region

MOGADISHU (XINHUA) - The Somali military confirmed on Thursday (Sept 26) its forces have killed 30 al-Shabab militants and injured 40 others in an offensive in the country's Lower Shabelle region on Wednesday.

Hassan Aden Hashi, deputy commander of the April 12 Unit of the Somali army, told journalists that the forces carried out a planned operation on a base used by the militants in an area between El Salini and Dhanane villages in Lower Shabelle.

"Our forces inflicted heavy casualties on the militants during the operation. We killed 30 of them and injured 40 others," Hashi said, adding that the forces also seized three battle vehicles and detained some members of the terrorist group during the offensive.

Local inhabitants said there was an intensive gun battle in the town which lasted for several hours.

The latest military offensive came four days after government forces killed 13 al-Shabab militants in a gun battle in the same area.

The southern regions of Somalia have become a battle ground of government forces and al-Shabab after the militants were chased out of the capital city of Mogadishu in August 2011 by African Union forces and the Somali army.