New U.S. airstrikes targeted and killed 11 members of the terror organization, Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.
One airstrike against Al-Shabaab came as a defensive measure after the terror group’s fighters engaged U.S. and Somali government forces near Kobon, Somalia on Thursday, according to a press statement U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) provided to American Military News. AFRICOM supported partner forces with an airstrike that killed 10 Al-Shabaab terrorists.
Another airstrike on Friday also targeted members of the group near the town of Jilib, and resulted in the death of one more Al-Shabaab fighter.
U.S. forces were working alongside partner forces of the Somali National Army Danab and Jubaland Security.
“Our assistance continues to build on the gains our partners are making,” U.S. Army Gen. Miguel Castellanos, the deputy director of operations for AFRICOM said. “The SNA and African partners on the ground keep hitting al-Shabaab hard, and it’s having an effect on the al-Shabaab terror network”
AFRICOM assessed no additional civilian casualties as a result of the Thursday and Friday airstrikes.
The Thursday and Friday strikes are just the latest in a series of attacks on Al-Shabaab positions throughout Somalia. Those AFRICOM strikes have resulted in the deaths of dozens of Al-Shabaab members in recent weeks, including one high-ranking member of the terror group, Yusuf Jiis.
AFRICOM has carried out dozens of strikes targeting Al-Shabaab since the start of the year. Those U.S. forces in Africa set a record for airstrikes in 2019, having conducted more than 60 airstrikes in Somalia over the year. They previously conducted 47 airstrikes in 2018 and 35 in 2017.
“U.S. Africa Command and our international partners recognize that stability in Somalia will not be achieved through purely military means. It requires providing programs and opportunity for the Somali people,” the AFRICOM statement continues. “In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia and Somali National Army forces. Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development.”
AFRICOM said it is working with its Somali partners to transfer responsibility for maintaining security conditions onto the Federal Government of Somalia and its member states.