Somalia: NISA joint operation with foreign forces leaves over 40 Al-Shabaab fighters dead
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A joint operation carried out by spy Somalia's agency and foreign partners has left over 40 Al-Shabaab militants dead in Middle Shabelle, Somalia's government announced, in the latest victory against the group which is fading fast in the Horn of Africa nation.
According to state media, the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] conducted that operation in the vicinity of Mahaday town within Middle Shabelle on Thursday, leading to fierce fighting between the government troops and the Al-Shabaab militants. This comes just a few days after the militants attacked Villa Rays Hotel in Mogadishu.
Reports indicate that the militants were plotting an attack within the town before they were neutralized by security forces who were well-prepared and alert. The militants have been carrying out sporadic attacks in the country for over 16 years since they first struct in the country.
"Over 40 Khawarij terrorists neutralized in a joint operation conducted by NISA, national army, locals and global security partners at Ali Foldhere area under Mahaday town of Middle Shabelle region. Militants were targeted while regrouping to stage an attack, " state media noted.
The government did not exactly reveal the group of foreign soldiers who assisted the Somali troops during the raid but the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] have in the past assisted the military to successfully degrade the Al-Shabaab militants.
In fact, the US Africa Command has been doing this through regular airstrikes across Al-Shabaab strongholds while ATMIS is on record for providing infantry units who directly confront the militants. The Al-Shabaab has been losing ground lately with their influence substantially diminishing according to intelligence reports.
The operation comes a few days after the militants killed over 15 people following a 22-hour siege in Villa Rays Hotel, an attack which shocked the entire nation. The complex attack took place in an area hugely protected by elite security forces who guard the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
Somalia has been battling the militants for the last four months in what President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud terms "the last assault" as he seeks to stamp authority in the country. The president, who is also using ideologies means to minimize the group's influence, insists the country must win the war "through all means".