Somalia National Army (SNA) backed by AU and US forces recaptured key villages in Lower Shabelle region after an offensive against the militant group of Al-Shabaab, officials said.

Somali military said the allied troops took control of Mubarak, Darussalam, and Awdhiigle towns in the region during the joint operation launched on Monday morning.

The coalition forces engaged a heavy gunfight with Al Shabaab militants who showed a resistance to the attack. Officials said several militants were killed during the operation.

The offensive is aimed to liberate more areas still under Al-Shabaab control including Janaale and other nearby towns, according to SNA commanders in the region.

The latest military development came after Al-Shabaab militants intensified attacks against Somali and African Union forces in Lower Shabelle region in past few months.