Kenya’s Ministry of Defense said its troops, operating under the African Union Mission in Somalia, have destroyed an al-Shabab camp, killing 52 militants and seizing weapons.
In a statement, the ministry said troops raided the camp, located near the town of Badhadhe in the Lower Jubba region, at around 1:00 a.m. Friday.
“The intelligence-led operation was executed after surveillance assets sighted al-Shabab terrorist concentration in the location,” the ministry said. “Ground troops supported by mortar and artillery fire were employed to neutralize the camp thereafter,” the statement added.
A local resident who could not be named for security reasons told VOA Somali the bombed al-Shabab camp is near Lagta Dishu, a military base used by Kenyan military operating in Somalia.
He said Kenyan troops used helicopters to bomb the area early in the morning, and said the aerial attack on the site was ongoing.
The resident said he could not confirm the casualty figure claimed by the Kenya military.
“It’s possible many al-Shabab fighters were killed, but I don’t know how many,” he said.
Kenya said other militants escaped with injuries. The statement said troops seized weapons including seven AK47 rifles, ammunition and explosive devices.
Badhadhe is 200 kilometers southwest of Kismayo and is one of the main towns in the region still controlled by al-Shabab.
Residents west of Kismayo reported separate clashes between Somali regional forces and al-Shabab militants Friday.
Jubbaland security forces spokesman Ahmed Mohamud Mohamed said their forces have seized new areas from the militants.
“We have conducted military operations against these religious bandits in Bulo Haji, our troops are there now,” he said.
He said the operations and the attack by Kenyan forces were coordinated.