Somali security forces backed by African Union troops [AMISOM] have launched a joint operation aimed at the beef-up of the security of the main road between Afgoye and Balad.

The allied forces are trying to flush out Al-Shabaab from the street which links the capital to southern regions. The move came after series of attacks which left MPs and officials dead.

Al Shabaab militants intensified ambush attacks against the Somali and AU forces travelling in the road and this has led to new security challenges faces by HirShabelle state officials.

The Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab fighters still control swathes of territory despite losing major ground, including Mogadishu to Somali and AMISOM soldiers in the past years.