Somali officials and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) claimed killing 189 al-Shabaab fighters late Friday and in the early hours of Saturday in an operation in southern Somalia.
Lower Shabelle Governor Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur Siidi said Ugandan soldiers under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), using attack helicopter gunships, have killed nearly 200 al-Shabab militants.
Earlier, the Ugandan army’s deputy spokesman, Lt. Col. Deo Akiki said, “Their soldiers killed at least 189 al-Shabab fighters in the operation and destroyed two mounted weapons and motorbikes in separate fire strikes.”
Governor Siidii said the strikes, along with ground assaults by the joint troops, occurred Friday and in the early hours of Saturday in a string of villages between the Qoryoley and Janaale districts in the Southern Somali region of Lower Shabelle.
“The militias were struck in their hideouts in the villages of Sigaale, Adimole and Kayitoy, just over 100 kilometers southwest of the capital, Mogadishu,” Nur said.
A statement from the Ugandan Army said that during the operation “a large number of military hardware and items used by the terrorist were also destroyed.”
“The UPDF also disrupted an al-Shabaab meeting, injuring several terrorists in Donca-daafeedow, which is seven kilometers from the Janaale town,” the statement added.
Residents say they could see military helicopters striking key al-Shabab targets and hideouts in the thickets and farmlands around Janaale town.
Speaking of the latest operations, both Somali and Ugandan military officials say this was the largest number of al-Shabaab fighters killed in a military operation in a single day.
Governor Siidii says AMISOM has introduced a new strategy and unveiled fresh military power.
“The Ugandan soldiers are using attack helicopter gunships in their operations for the first time, and also the Somali National Army, with the help of AMISOM, came up with a strategy of aggressive attacks against militants in their hideouts, rather than wait their attacks,” he said.
This operation comes a week after the United States military said it had completed the withdrawal of troops from Somalia.
Security analysts say a day hardly passes in Somalia without reporting an incident involving al-Shabab attacks.