Mogadishu: A top Al Shabaab leader was killed in a covert operation by the Somali army, officials said on Saturday.
Qasim Sheikh was killed after government troops cornered him on Friday night, Aden Abdi Mohamed, deputy mayor of Hudur in Bakool region, told Xinhua news agency.
"Our forces launched an operation after receiving intelligence that Sheikh was hiding in Abal village, 18 km from Hudur. There was no resistance and Qasim was killed on the spot," he said.
Mohamed said Qasim was once a government official in the region before joining the Al Qaeda-linked group, and was leading operations for Al Shabaab.
The militant group has lost a number of key leaders in Somali government attacks and US airstrikes. The group's leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed in September last year in a US airstrike.