African Union peacekeepers in Somalia have liberated the first major town since the beginning of the year.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) announced that they captured Jannale -- a stronghold of al-Shabaab -- on March 17, 2020.
Amisom Force Commander, Gen Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn said the operation in the south eastern Lower Shabelle region involved Amisom forces and the Somalia National Army (SNA). Several Shabaab members were killed and others wounded, he added.
"Amisom jointly with Somali security forces have minimised the threat posed by al-Shabaab in the larger territory of Somalia, hence their fighting capability has been reduced to small-scale attacks on isolated targets," Gen Wondimhunegn said.
Jannale, approximately 90km south-west of the capital Mogadishu, has been the hub for the terrorists' operations and activities.
Brig Richard Otto, the Uganda Contingent Commander based in Sector 1, said that the town, with approximately 30,000 people, is currently under the full control of the joint forces - Amisom and SNA.
The Deputy Head of Mission for Amisom, Simon Mulongo, praised the joint forces for their commitment to restore peace, security and stability in Somalia.
"The liberation of Jannale is a major win against terrorism in Somalia. This will destabilise the operations of al-Shabaab who continue to destroy lives and property. Increasingly, Somali Security Forces are taking the lead in efforts to degrade al-Shabaab," he said.
The capture of Jannale is in line with the revised Amisom Concept of Operations (Conops 2018-2021) and the Somali Transition Plan.
Amisom forces jointly with Somali security forces have conducted offensive operations in Lower Shabelle to capture the four Bridge Towns. They include Sabiid-Anole, Bariire, Awdheegle and Ceel Saliini.