The Somali National Army (SNA) said in an operation in the Lower Shabelle region that they had shot dead several Al-Shabaab militants and rescued many children.
According to a statement from the army command, the 143rd October 14th Battalion conducted operations in villages under Barire area in Lower Shabelle region.
The statement said 16 al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab members had been killed and 40 children had been rescued from the country.
Dhamme Ahmed Hassan Siyad, commander of the 143rd October Brigade, said they were holding the rescued children, who were being prepared to carry out bombings and attacks inside Somalia.
The Somali National Army (SNA) has stepped up operations against al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, and has on several occasions rescued children for recruitment.