Mogadishu/Xinhua: The Somali National Army (SNA) on Thursday killed six al-Shabab militants in an operation in the outskirts of Kismayo, a town in the southern region of Lower Juba, a military officer confirmed on Friday.
Isma'il Abdi Malik Malin, commander of the SNA's 16th Unit, said the army also destroyed bases used by al-Shabab cells as hideouts and recovered weapons and ammunition during the operation.
"There was resistance from the militants who were hiding in the area, but the forces overpowered them, killing six of them and our forces also forced the militants out of the area," Malin told journalists.
Locals told Xinhua that heavily armed government forces attacked al-Shabab extremists in villages in the outskirts of Kismayo.
They said there was an exchange of fire between the two sides, resulting in casualties on both warring sides.
Government forces have in recent days intensified operations in the southern regions against al-Shabab extremists, who have been hiding in rural areas and conducting ambushes and planting landmines.