Somali elite forces freed 33 children Friday in a military operation against Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab in the southwestern region of lower Shabelle region.
The children were rescued in Kurtunwaarey, a stronghold of the group in lower Shabelle region located 208 kilometers (129 miles) from the capital, Mogadishu.
"The children were taken away from their families by the insurgent group al-Shabaab for indoctrination, and they were freed after the military liberated the town from the terrorist group," government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo told Anadolu Agency.
Somali commandos killed at least four senior al-Shabaab militants including the group’s financial coordinator and operations commander, according to military radio.
Meanwhile, a bomb blast Friday near a military base in the region killed one soldier, according to Adan Moalim, a military official who spoke to Anadolu Agency.
And local media reported three soldiers were wounded by a landmine explosion outside Bal'ad, in middle Shabelle region.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks.