African Union soldiers killed five Islamist militants, including a senior leader of al-Shabaab, in Somalia after coming across a training camp on Tuesday, according to a statement from the peacekeeping mission.
The forces seized weapons during the operation, including a bomb and rifles, as well as a flag of al-Shabaab, the African Union Mission in Somalia said in an e-mailed statement. The mission denied reports in the local media that soldiers killed civilians in the coastal town of Marka.
“Amisom troops on regular patrols encountered an al-Shabaab training center at Juujomo, close to El Hindi village,” according to the statement. “In the ensuing gun battle to dislodge the terrorists, as Amisom is mandated to do, five al-Shabaab fighters were killed, including one of their notorious leaders, Mohammed Dahir.”
More than 20,000 forces from African nations such as Uganda, Burundi and Kenya are supporting Somali troops in battling al-Shabaab. The group has been fighting the United Nations-backed government in Somalia since 2007 in a bid to create an Islamic state.