MOGADISHU, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Somali security forces on Monday took over Adan Yabal, a strategic town in the Middle Shabelle region, central Somalia after fierce fighting with al-Shabab extremists, the African Union mission confirmed on Tuesday.
Mohammed El-Amine Souef, the Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson and head of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) lauded the security forces on the liberation of Adan Yabal, the main town in the Middle Shabelle region that was a training ground for the militants since 2016.
"We applaud our brave Somali Security Forces and partners who are demonstrating, through the ongoing military offensives, that they can deliver destructive and decisive blows to al-Shabab in all their hideouts," Souef said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
He said the AU mission will continue to work with Somalia in the fight against terrorism and to bring security and stability to the country.
Witnesses said Adan Yabal which is about 245km north of Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, was liberated following a four-day fierce fighting between the government forces backed by the clan militia group and al-Shabab fighters.
Pro-government local militia dubbed Ma'awisley has also intensified the attack against the al-Qaida-linked militants who have lost a huge swathe of territory that they controlled a decade ago.
ATMIS Acting Force Commander Keith Katungi said the AU mission was providing mutual support to the ongoing military operations.
"ATMIS helicopters from Sector One have been providing the much-needed targeted air strikes and casualty evacuation throughout the offensive operations to support Somali Security Forces on the ground," Katungi said.
"Together, we shall degrade and defeat al-Shabab," he said, adding that the military operation also saw several vehicles recovered.