At least 16 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed and 40 captive children rescued in a military operation in southwestern Somalia, officials said on Saturday.
The operation against the al-Qaeda affiliated group was carried out near the recently liberated agricultural town of Bariire, located 62 kilometers (38 miles) from the capital Mogadishu, in the Lower Shabelle region.
“During the operation in Nuuney village outside Bariire town, the military managed to rescue at least 40 children hailing from different parts of the country,” Ahmed Hassan Salad, a military commander, told the media.
The insurgents had kidnapped the children and planned to use them as suicide bombers, according to Somali military radio.
Security officials in the Lower Shabelle region told Anadolu Agency that operations against al-Shabaab will continue without letup to curb the group’s ability to disrupt next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections.