By Mohamed Shiil

Ras Kamboni, Somalia

Government forces and local pro-government fighters backed by Kenyan troops have overtaken Ras Kamboni, a strategic district and a stronghold of Al-Shabaab in the Lower Jubba region of south Somalia, a local official said Thursday.

"Our forces have advanced the town from two different directions and insurgents fled away instantly without significant resistance," said Sheikh Ahmed Madobe, leader of Ras Kamboni fighters .

Reports indicated that Kenyan helicopters bombarded Al Shabaab bases in the area, inflicting heavy casualties.

Ras Kamboni, 183 kilometers (114 miles) from the port town of Kismayo, is a stronghold and a training and recruitment center for Al Shabaab. Its seizure by the government and Ras Kamboni forces is a setback for the insurgents, who have lost almost all their strongholds in the capital in the last few weeks.

Meanwhile on Thursday, government forces and African Union peacekeeping forces pushed Al-Shabaab out of the Deynile district, a main stronghold of the insurgents.

"AU [African Union] tanks were seen scrolling in the streets of Deynile and government forces launched house-to-house searches in the district after insurgents fled," said Musa Osman, a Deynile resident.

Al Shabaab officials claimed they killed government and African Union Peacekeeping forces while government and AMISOM officials claimed victory.

Residents in Elasha, 13 kilometers from Mogadishu, said that bodies of government and AMISOM soldiers could be seen lying in the streets of Elasha.

Gen. Abdikarim Yusuf (Dhego-badan), deputy chief of staff of Transitional Federal Government forces, said that on Thursday government troops achieved more gains during their offensive in the Daynile district.

World - Somali Forces Seize District in Lower Jubba from Insurgents | Global Viewpoint