MOGADISHU, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Somali security forces have killed more than 200 al-Shabab fighters including senior leaders in a three-day operation carried out in the central and southern parts of the country, a government official said Wednesday.
Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Daud Aweis said the security forces have also liberated new areas in Hirshabelle, Galmudug and Jubaland states, where they killed a large number of extremists.
Aweis said the forces backed by international partners have successfully operated in several frontlines, like Banadir, Hirshabelle, South West, Jubaland, and Galmudug states to flush out the militants who have engaged the government forces in near-daily attacks.
"The Somali National Army has captured caves where the Kharijites (al-Shabab) were hiding in areas located in Hirshabelle. This means that the war tactics of the Kharijites are coming to an end and that they are being targeted wherever they try to hide," he told a weekly news briefing in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The minister also said the security forces in their efforts to strengthen the security of the capital, had arrested three al-Shabab terrorists who were plotting acts against security.
Aweis said the UN Security Council has welcomed the progress made by the government in the war against al-Shabab in the country as well as the progress made in maintaining good relationships and cooperation between the government and the Federal member states.
The government forces have intensified their attacks against al-Shabab since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared an all-out war against the militants last year.
The president has vowed that the military operations to flush out al-Shabab militants from their strongholds will be intensified to stop extortion of the Somali people and the spread of propaganda, intimidation and extremism in Somalia. ■