Somalia + 1 more

Kenya Says Forces Take Somali Town from al-Shabab

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The Kenyan army says it has taken a town in southern Somalia from militant group al-Shabab in a joint operation with Somali government forces.

In messages posted Wednesday to the social media site Twitter, army spokesman Emmanuel Chirchir says the town of Fafadun was seized in an operation that killed three al-Shabab members.

Chirchir says the dead include a key al-Shabab leader in the Gedo region, Sheikh Hassan Hussein. He says one Kenyan soldier was slightly injured.

Kenyan forces entered Somalia in October to push back al-Shabab, which controls large sections of southern and central Somalia, and is blamed by Kenya for a series of cross-border kidnappings.

The militant group has also come under pressure from African Union peacekeepers, who pushed them out of the Somali capital Mogadishu in August, and from Ethiopia, which seized the town of Beledweyne on Saturday.

Al-Shabab is known for enforcing a strict brand of Islam in the areas under its rule and is believed to have links to al-Qaida.

The group has also blocked most international aid workers from accessing parts of Somalia suffering from drought and famine.