Mogadishu, Aug 7 (IANS) The Africa Union (AU) forces, alongside Somali government troops, on Thursday captured several villages in central Somalia’s Hiran region from Al-Shabaab militants, a local official said.
Hiran region mayor Abdifitah Hassan Afrah said the joint forces seized the villages after fierce battles during which the AU fighter jets conducted air strikes on the militants, Xinhua news agency reported.
Afrah said four villages were retaken and the militants took heavy causalities.
“This operation is aimed to liberate all villages controlled by Al-Shabaab in Hiran region, and AU warplanes carried out airstrikes against the enemies to force them to flee these villages,” he said.
He also denied that there were casualties on the joint forces side.
“The fighting was huge and we heard heavy explosions because fighter jets were involved in the battle,” said local resident Adan Said.