Strategic Barire town in lower Shebelle region in Somalia was on Wednesday captured by KDF troops in the company of Somali National Army, Somalia National Army Chief of Defense Forces General Dahir Elmi has confirmed.
In a statement, General Elmi hailed the soldiers, terming the liberation of the town as a big blow to Al-Shabaab militants. The lower Shebelle region has been under the control of Al-Shabaab for several years.
"I want to congratulate the Somalia National Army and AMISOM troops from Kenya for job well done. The capture of Barire town is strategic and a blow to Al-Shabaab," he noted.
Award-winning journalist Haruf Maruf, who authored Inside Al-Shabaab book, revealed the news which could boost KDF's ongoing operation to rescue two Cuban doctors who were abducted several weeks ago in Mandera.
"Somali Govt forces have retaken the town of Barire in Lower Shabelle region. Barire is near Sabiid and Anole villages where troops seized last month. Somali special forces with support from partner forces have in the past conducted numerous surgical raids on Al-Shabab in Barire," he noted.
In the last few days, at least five commanders attached to Al-Shabaab have surrendered and two are being interrogated in Mogadishu over the abduction of Cuban doctors from Kenya.
Elite Rangers Strike Regiment which comprises of Rangers Strike Force and Special Forces were deployed in Somalia's Gedo region to help in the search. Until now, it's now clear whether any progress has been made.
Elders from Mandera crossed over the border and are said to be in negotiations with those from Somalia in a bid to rescue the doctors. They were abducted outside their residence in Somalia.