The Somali National Army and local forces killed five al-Shabab militants, including a senior leader, on Monday, a local official confirmed.

The operation against the militants in Bardale, a town in the southern region of Bay, followed a tip-off from the public, said Mohamed Isak Ali, governor of Bardale town.

“There was a stiff confrontation between the army and the militants, but we overpowered them, killing five of them, including Ibrahim Moalim Abdi, a senior leader who was in charge of operations in Qansah dherer, Bardale and Awdinle towns,” Ali said.

He said the army will intensify operations against other senior al-Shabab leaders hiding in the town.

The southern regions of Somalia have seen clashes between government forces and al-Shabab extremists since the militants were chased out of the capital, Mogadishu, in August 2011 by the Somali army and African Union forces.