MOGADISHU, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Elite forces of Somali National Army (SNA) on Saturday arrested two al-Shabab militants after conducting operations in several locations of the Lower Shabelle region, southern Somalia, officials said.
Commander of SNA's 16th Danab Unit Mohamed Abdukadir Ali told SNA-Radio Mogadishu that the operations aimed at pursuing al-Shabab militants who force locals to pay levy (zakat), which is a form of extortion.
"Our forces arrested two al-Shabab militants from their hideouts and recovered an AK47 rifle gun during the operation in several areas in the Lower Shabelle region. We are committed to eradicate al-Shabab terrorists throughout the country," Ali said, adding that the operation against the militants will be intensified across the country.
The latest arrest comes amid heightened security in and around Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, ahead of the presidential elections Sunday.
The police on Saturday imposed a curfew starting in the evening ahead of the elections which will be contested by 39 presidential candidates.
Police Spokesperson Abdifatah Aden Hassan announced suspension of all public and traffic movements in Mogadishu, from 9 p.m., local time, Saturday until 6 a.m. Monday and advised the residents to remain indoors before the country holds a long-delayed presidential election.
Hassan said they have set up a special communication center to respond to emergencies that may rise in lockdown. "We apologize to the workers for the inconvenience caused during the curfew and urged members of the public to work with the police force to ensure the security of the capital during the election." ■