Over 61 Al-Shabaab militants die in Southern Somali explosion

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In a village, southern Somalia, more than 61 Al-Shabaab militants and foreign nationals were killed in an explosion. The national army said in a statement on Tuesday.

The blast went off inside a house at Ala-Futow village, located some 285 kilometers from the capital Mogadishu.

Reports indicate that the materials stored at the 11-room house exploded late on Monday, killing at least 61 militants including six foreign nationals.

Among those killed include Al-Shabaab’s bomb experts. The military later confirmed they conducted a swipe operation in the area destroying Al’Shabaab equipment.

Somalia had plunged into chaos after the 1991 overthrow of president Siad Barre’s military regime led to famine and decades of anarchic clan warfare.

Al-Shabaab emerged from the youth wing of the Islamic Courts Union, a rival to the internationally-backed government established in 2004, which briefly controlled large parts of Somalia.

But in the second half of 2011, the group’s fortunes appeared to be waning, as African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM pushed them out of their last bastions in Mogadishu.

Since then they have had to abandon most of their strongholds — but they still control vast rural areas and have maintained a presence in urban centres through an extensive intelligence network.

Suzan O/AFN

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