MOGADISHU, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Somali army backed by Jubaland state forces on Monday killed 24 al-Shabab militants and injured more than 19 others in an offensive in Lower Jubba region, an official confirmed.
Khiyar Abdi Mohamed, commander of one of Jubbaland units, told journalists that the joint offensive was conducted in the outskirts of Kismayo town after the forces got intelligence of the militants' presence in the area and the forces inflicted severe casualties on the militants.
"There was a fierce fire exchange between our army and the militants, but the forces defeated the extremists and killed 24 of them and injured more than 19 others," said the commander.
He noted that among the dead including the militants' commander in the western villages of Kismayo.
Locals reported heavy gun battle in the village. "As the militants were gathering in the town, they were suddenly attacked by government forces, both exchanged gunfire which caused casualties of warring sides and the residents," Hafsa Elmi, a resident told Xinhua by phone.
On Sept. 29, the Somali military army backed by African Union forces killed 20 al-Shabab militants in another offensive in the country's southern region of Lower Shabelle.
Somali government forces are on major offensives in the southern regions to drive al-Shabab militants out of those regions, but the militants still hold swathes of rural areas in the regions conducting ambushes and planting land mines.