MOGADISHU, March 26: Somalia said more than 3,000 al-Shabab militants have been killed and 3,700 more sustained injuries since the government started a military operation against the terror group six months ago.
The Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism said some 70 towns and villages which were under al-Shabab have been liberated by the Somali National Army (SNA) forces with the support of the locals.
"The government stands by its commitment to ensuring that the SNA is carrying out the ongoing operations in strict compliance with its obligations under international humanitarian law, human rights law, Islamic law, and Somali customary rules of warfare," the ministry said in a statement issued in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on Saturday evening.
The government forces have intensified their attacks against al-Shabab since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud declared an all-out war against the militants last year.
President Mohamud has vowed to intensify military operations to flush out al-Shabab militants from their strongholds to stop extortion of the Somali people and the spread of propaganda, intimidation, and extremism in Somalia.
The statement came as the government plans to launch the second phase of this military offensive against the militant group.
The ministry said al-Shabab continues to suffer defeats in central and southern regions and across Somalia, noting that a major security operation is set to be launched in the capital Mogadishu to ensure that the fugitive militants do not harm city residents.
The operation is aimed at protecting the city and its civilians, adding that the government wants to ensure that the people's safety is not disturbed during the holy month of Ramadan.
The government has been waging a formidable war against the al-Shabab militants since President Mohamud came into power on May 1, 2022.
But the militant group still controls some parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere despite the increased onslaught by government forces.