Somali government forces, backed by AU and US soldiers have launched Saturday an offensive against Al shabaab militants in Lower Shabelle region, south of Somalia.
The region's officials confirmed to Radio Shabelle, the start of the fresh military operation, which them said is aimed to flush out Al shabaab from their remaining pockets.
The coalition forces began their offensive at Mubarak, Beled-amin and other nearby small towns, where they fought off Al shabaab fighters for several hours early on Saturday morning.
In April, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared war on Al Shabaab on and offered amnesty to fighters, if they surrendered within 60 days.
Last week, a suspected US warplane dropped leaflets on Jilib, an Al shabaab-held town in Middle Jubba region, urging fighters to defect, and take advantage of the President's amnesty offer.
Despite being driven out of large swathes of territory, Al shabaab still controls key areas in south-central Somalia, and capable of carrying sporadic bomb ad gun attacks in the country.