The United States executed an air strike against Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia early this week, Garowe Online reported today.
“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US forces conducted an air strike targeting Al-Shabaab militants approximately 50 kilometres north of Kismayo, Somalia,” Major Karl Wiest, a spokesman for US Africa Command, said.
Al-Shabaab was seen moving tactically and carrying a variety of weaponry in an area close to the attack. The place of attack is located in Jubaland, approximately 350 kilometres southwest of the capital Mogadishu.
The air strike follows Al-Shabaab’s suicide bombing and storming of a military base in southern Somalia, which killed 27 Somali National Army soldiers. The last US air strike was executed on 2 June.
Al-Shabaab pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2012 attracting a heavy presence of US counter-terrorism operations in Somalia. Unmanned drones, sporadic air strikes and counter-terrorism raids regularly take place in Somalia, often killing civilians in the process. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which tracks US activity worldwide, some 800 have reportedly been killed in Somalia by the US’ use of force and 92 injured.
Al-Shabaab is battling to topple the central government and impose its rule based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic law. It has killed thousands of Somalis and hundreds of civilians across East Africa in a decade-long insurgency.
The US Pentagon late last year inked plans to the White House to fight in Somalia for two more years. President Donald Trump has already provided the US military and CIA broader authority to execute strikes in Somalia, considering it an “area of active hostilities”. But human rights groups have voiced concern over the lack of transparency over civilian casualties and zero accountability process for US activity in the country.