17 al-Shabaab militants neutralized in southern Somalia

17 al-Shabaab militants, including ringleaders, were neutralized on Tuesday night in an operation conducted by the Somali security forces, the government said on Wednesday.

The operation carried out near Hawadley in southern Somalia’s Middle Shabelle region, is the latest carried out by the Horn of African country’s security forces, aimed at crushing the militant group that has operated in the country for more than a decade.

With the latest killings, more than 150 terrorists have now been neutralized.

In his campaigns, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged to rid the country of the threat of terrorism, which has hindered progress and development for years.

Earlier this month, the president said including regional vigilante groups in the fight against al-Shabaab has boosted Somalia’s ability to tackle terrorism.

The Somali National Army, backed by the African Union Mission in Somalia, drove al-Shabaab out of Mogadishu in 2011. However, the terror group is still capable of conducting attacks, targeting government installations, hotels, restaurants and public places.