• Tuesday, 21 May 2024
The US military confirms an airstrike on Al-Shabab in Somalia

The US military confirms an airstrike on Al-Shabab in Somalia

The US military has confirmed a new airstrike against Al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia's Middle Juba region.

According to a press release issued Monday by the US Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, the airstrike took place in Jilib town on Saturday in collaboration with the Somali federal government.

"The command's preliminary assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed," according to the statement.

The AFRICOM statement did not specify whether any senior al-Shabab commanders had been targeted. Jilib, 385 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu, is a stronghold of al-Shabab.

According to a source familiar with the visit who did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media, Mahad Salad, director of Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency, was in Washington and New York meeting with U.S. officials from the Pentagon, CIA, and FBI.

According to the source, the talks focused on security and counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries.

Highway bombing


Meanwhile, four Somali government soldiers were killed in a roadside explosion in Mogadishu's Daynile district on Monday, according to the Ministry of Defense.

The ministry's spokesperson, Brigadier General Abdullahi Ali Anod, said the attack happened around 9 a.m., and three soldiers and an officer from the construction unit were killed.

Despite the explosion, he claims that capital security has improved since the deployment of new military police more than a month ago.

According to government officials, the new forces were among Somali security personnel trained in Uganda in recent months.

The militant group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Daynile attack.

 

Anod stated that since the government initiated an offensive against the militants in August, there has been a decrease in the number of improvised explosive attacks carried out by al-Shabab.

According to Anod, the explosions have not completely ceased, but they have become less frequent. He mentioned that the government had anticipated an increase in attacks during the month of Ramadan, but that did not occur.

Anod expressed that although the enemy is weakened, they still possess the capability to cause harm.

Officials from Somalia and the African Union have identified improvised explosive devices (IEDs) as al-Shabab's preferred weapons.

A collaborative report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights revealed that between January 2020 and December 2021, there were 109 IED attacks resulting in the deaths of 309 civilians and injuries to 556 others.

The report outlined various types of weapons utilized in these attacks, including vehicle-borne IEDs, person-borne IEDs used in suicide attacks, and victim-operated IEDs.

In the meantime, al-Shabab leader Ahmed Diriye, also known as Ahmed Umar and Abu Ubaidah, reportedly appeared in a video released by al-Shabab's media department.

The video depicts a gathering attended by prominent al-Shabab leaders, pro-al-Shabab traditional elders, and religious scholars. The group's media reported that the meeting, titled "Jihad in East Africa," took place from May 8 to 15, but the specific location was not disclosed.

Diriye, whose face is obscured in the video, comments on the military offensive launched by the Somali government and local Ma'awisley fighters that drove al-Shabab from vast areas in Hirshabelle and Galmudug states. Diriye declared that the offensive, which began in August of last year and lasted until early this year, had "failed." The Somali government has stated that a second phase of the offensive is being planned.

Previously released al-Shabab videos did not show the militant leader's face. Diriye was appointed to the post after his predecessor, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed in a US operation on September 1, 2014. The US has offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to his whereabouts.

 

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