An unknown number of al-Shabaab fighters were on Wednesday morning killed after Kenya Defence Forces troops and Somali National Army captured the strategic town of Bardheere in Gedo region.
This is a day after they captured Juungal which is 35 kilometres away from Bardheere. Al Shabaab militants are reported to have released several prisoners as they fled before Amisom troops entered the town.
Some residents who feared the fighting had also escaped from the town.
Military officer Osman Jilicow said the militants killed two local elders before they fled.
“Before pulling out, they tried to create panic among the population, killing two clan elders,” he told Xinhua news.
Amisom troops and the Somali National Army are now advancing towards the only remaining al Shabaab stronghold as the terrorists escaped after planting mines on the road.
Residents said Amisom attacked al Shabaab’s defensive positions in a three-hour battle killing fifteen of the fighters.
SNA officer Col. Abdullahi Osman Isaaq said that the fall of Juungal is very significant in the battle for the control of the strategic and agriculturally productive town of Bardheere.
Amisom troops have launched an offensive to liberate the remaining towns and eliminate al Shabaab from Somali in an effort to stabilize the war-torn country.
Ethiopia has deployed 3,000 troops and six helicopter gunships in their last push while Kenya has recently launched aerial bombardments of al Shabaab strongholds including the recent attack in which 51 insurgent fighters were killed.
Bardheere is in South West of Somalia within Gedo region which is Amisom’s sector II where KDF operates. It capture will effectively neutralize al Shabaab’s operations in a town it has controlled for more than six years.