The Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) heavily fired shells near the southern strategic port city of Kismayo on Tuesday, a military spokesman confirmed Wednesday, amid reports of the killing of a senior Al-Shabaab officer.
Abdikadir Duecsane, supreme commander of Al-Shabaab in Jiliib, the last major town on the road to Kismayo, was reportedly killed in the Monday shelling by the Kenya Navy, part of AMISOM.
"AMISOM forces shelled several Al-Shabaab positions near Kismayo on Sept. 3, killing 7 militants," the spokesman Col. Cyrus Oguna told Xinhua by telephone.
But he didn't confirm Duecsane's death. "I have not established whether the senior Al-Shabaab officer was among those killed."
During the attack, AMISOM recovered military equipment including missile launchers, and destroyed guns and ammunitions, Oguna said.
AMISOM expects to occupy Kismayo in the coming days.
"We are approaching there and the fall is imminent," the spokesman said.
Analysts have described the capture of Kismayo from Al-Shabaab as an important step to ensure a successful power shift from the Somali Transition Federal Government to a civilian administration.
Kenyan forces, which crossed into Somalia in mid-October last year, have intensified military crackdown inside southern Somalia to push back Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group blamed for a series of cross-border kidnappings against Kenyans.
The militant group has also came under pressure from other African Union peacekeepers and was recently driven out of the outskirts of the Somali capital Mogadishu.