A joint military operation announced earlier in the week between US troops and Somali troops has begun clearing villages and areas held by al Shabaab in southern Somalia. The operation active in the country’s Lower Shabelle region has reported heavy gunfire and a huge exodus of people believed to be al Shabaab militants.
Somali officials reported a joint operation involving their own commandos and US ground troops attacking a pair of highway checkpoints under the control of al-Shabaab, and which the group has been using to charge tolls to passing commercial vehicles.
Additionally, the US also reportedly carried out two airstrikes against the area, reportedly destroying a minibus that Somali officials believe was full of explosives. The operation is geared at driving the al Shabaab militants out of the villages that they have previously occupied and terrorized the residents.