At least 20 al-Shabaab militants were killed in a military operation in Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle region, the army said on Thursday.

Gen. Odawa Yusuf Rageh, the chief of Somalia’s army, told a military-run radio service that senior commanders of the group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda, were among the dead.

A military official in the region said the operation was launched after intelligence was received that al-Shabaab terrorist were hiding out in villages close to Qoryoley and Janale towns.

He said several soldiers were also wounded in the operation.

Janale, a strategically important agricultural town some 95 kilometers (59 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu, was liberated from al-Shabaab following a military offensive in 2020.