Somalia: Fresh air and ground offensive kill over 100 Al-Shabaab fighters
NAIROBI, Kenya - A fresh airstrike and ground offensive in Somalia has left over 100 Al-Shabaab fighters dead, the Ministry of Information confirmed in a lengthy statement, just as the country prepares for the second and perhaps final assault on the members of the group, which still poses threats to regional stability.
The Al-Shabaab militants have been waging coordinated sporadic retaliatory attacks against the US Africa Command, the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], the Somali National Army [SNA], and even innocent civilians causing havoc and destruction of people's businesses.
According to the ministry, the latest raid was activated by the ever-supportive US Africa Command in collaboration with the Somali National Army, leaving several other militants injured. The attack targeted the Gal Libaax and Ceel Qurac areas in central Somalia, causing huge losses to the militants.
Several weapons and military vehicles were seized in the operation, with a number of militants also arrested pending prosecution, authorities said. The airstrike, however, is yet to be confirmed by the US Africa Command, which does a thorough assessment of the impact before reporting.
For the past week, over 200 Al-Shabaab militants may have died following a series of operations across the country, with the local forces targeting Middle Jubba, parts of Lower Jubba, and Shabelle regions according to statistics provided by the government.
The US Africa Command usually provides aerial surveillance in case of such operations and has been instrumental in degrading Al-Shabaab over the years. The US army returned to Somalia over one year ago after months of absence following unprecedented withdrawal.
The operation against Al-Shabaab has intensified in recent weeks with security forces now planning a second phase of operations in Jubaland and Southwest states. Both the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia troops have been adequately prepared to assist the national army.
Somalia on her part has laid down mechanisms to assist in facilitating the elimination of the militants, including through imposing strict measures to block the group's revenue sources besides engaging religious scholars who have been mandated to engage locals on violent extremism and side effects to the country.