Somali Army Kills Senior Al-Shabab Leader, Arrests Two Others.

The Somali National Army (SNA), has confirmed that the military, with support from African Union Mission, has killed a senior Shabab fighter and arrested two others in a Middle Shabelle region.

Abshir  Mohamud, SNA commander for Unit 3, told military radio that the army had inflicted casualties on the militants in a planned operation along the road linking Balad and Jowhar towns In southern Somalia on Sunday.

“Our forces killed a senior Shabab commander, who was in charge of planting landmines in the Middle Shabelle region,’’ Mohamud said.

He added that the forces also killed the fighter’s bodyguard and apprehended two other senior Shabab leaders in the operation.

“A number of al-Shabab fighters were captured and handed over to the Somali police for further investigations,” African Union Mission (AMISOM) said in a statement.

According to the statement, the operation was seeking to ensure free movement of Somali people on the main supply route of Mogadishu-Jowhar.

Humanitarian partners to the Somali authorities said Al-Shabab fighters have restricted the movement of people and control supply routes to most of the recovered areas.

Somali government forces have recently intensified operations against al-Shabab in southern regions but the militants still control some rural areas in those regions, conducting ambushes and planting landmines.

AU troops have been conducting regular patrols and escorting vehicles carrying humanitarian relief aid and participating in combat operations against al-Shabab to secure main supply routes.

Clashes between government forces and Al-Shabab fighters in the southern region started in August 2011 when the militants were forced out from the capital Mogadishu.