Somalia announced on Wednesday that its armed forces arrested a senior leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab terrorist group in an operation in the country’s Middle Shabelle region, according to an official statement.
“Somali National Army and Hirshabelle police arrested a senior Alshabaab local leader after a joint operation in War Isse and Aqab Duco villages near Jowhar,” Somali government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu said on Twitter.
Jowhar is the administrative capital of Hirshabelle and a strategic agricultural town located approximately 90 kilometers (55 miles) from the Somali capital Mogadishu.
The Somali Army is conducting a two-week operation against al-Shabaab in the region, so far killing 130 terrorists and liberating six villages, according to reports.
“The SNA (Somali National Army) operations in Hirshaballe have left 130 terrorists dead,” Somali state television reported on Wednesday.
Late on Monday, at least 60 al-Shabaab terrorists, including foreign nationals, senior commanders and bomb experts, were killed after a house used for bomb making exploded in the Lower Shabelle region, according to the military.
The offensive was launched in line with efforts to improve security as the Horn of Africa country prepares for parliamentary and presidential elections in the coming months.