The African Union troops and Somali army launched a military offensive on an al-Qaeda-linked militant group in southern Somalia, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said in a statement on Sunday.
In late June, al-Shabaab militants attacked the AU peacekeepers' base south of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and detonated a car bomb there. The assault claimed lives of at least 30 people.
"This operation seeks to clear main supply routes to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to the population and flash al-Shabaab from all the areas, ensuring full control by the Federal Government of Somalia," AMISOM Deputy Force Commander Operations and Plans Maj. Gen. Mohammedesha Zeyinu was quoted as saying in a statement.
Al-Shabaab terrorist group, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012, has been staging attacks in Somalia in an attempt to overthrow the country's government and enforce strict Sharia law on its territory.
The group frequently carries out assaults and suicide attacks both in Somalia and neighboring Kenya.