Somali forces retook three villages near Bardere town in Gedo region on Sunday and killed three al-Shabab militants in the country’s southern region of Gedo, officials said Monday.

Ali Mohamed Hassan, commander of Somali forces unit 49, in Bardhere town told journalists that the militants were killed in an offensive in Bulaweyn and Bakal villages along the road of Bardhere in the Gedo region.

Hassan also noted that a soldier sustained injuries during the battle.

“Heavily armed forces attacked al-Shabab militants in the town, and the two sides fought for a while exchanging heavy weapons,” Barre Elmi, a local resident, told the media via phone.

The latest offensive came barely a week after Somali forces conducted an operation in the same region, killing two al-Shabab militants and injured three others.

Somali forces backed by African Union Mission in Somalia have stepped up operations on the al-Qaida affiliated group in central and southern Somalia to flush them out.