The Kenyan army says it killed 57 al-Shabaab militants in southern Somalia on Wednesday, injuring many others too.
The Kenyan troops under the African Union command used artillery and helicopter gunships against the Islamist militants in Afmadow, a town located about 100 kilometers from the port of Kismayo, , spokesman Col. Joseph Owuoth said in a statement.
“In the onslaught, 57 al Shabaab militants were killed and unknown number injured,” Owuoth said, adding that five gun-mounted pickup trucks known as “technicals” were destroyed.
The account could however not immediately be independently verified.
Somalia has been torn apart by civil war since 1991 and now a drought threatens to tip the Horn of Africa nation into famine. Last month parliamentarians elected a new president who vowed to stamp out al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab.
In January, its fighters attacked a Kenyan military base in the southern Somali town of Kulbiyow, near the Kenyan border. Kenya said nine soldiers died.
The insurgency wants to topple the government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam on Somalia. It ruled most of south-central Somalia until 2011, when it was driven out of Mogadishu by African Union troops.