Somalia: U.S. continues to ramp up airstrikes against Al-Shabaab
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The U.S. military ramped up the number of airstrikes against Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia, launching at least five drone attacks this week, Garowe Online reports.
It is the highest number of strikes since Trump authorized the U.S. troops to broaden the counterterrorism offensives in Somalia targeting al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked group and ISIL affiliate in March 2017.
The U.S. Africa Command [AFRICOM] said in a statement on Thursday, Nov 22 that at least 50 Al-Shabaab have so far been killed in five airstrikes conducted in Mudug region of central Somalia and destroyed weapons cache.
All drone strikes were carried out in coordination with the Somalia Federal government in the vicinity of Haradhere, a key Al-Shabaab stronghold in the province, according to the statement obtained by GO.
"The precision airstrikes reduced Al-Shabaab's ability to plot future attacks, disrupt its leadership networks, and degrade its freedom of manoeuvre within the region," said AFRICOM.
The United States military said the airstrikes did not injure or kill any civilians but degraded the militant group which has been fighting for almost a decade to topple the UN-backed fragile Somali government.
In past, the Human rights groups concerned the rise in civilian casualties from the frequent American drone strikes in the conflict-recovering Horn of Africa country.
Despite being flushed out of the capital and large ground in the last 7 years, the extremist group still continues to stage deadly car bombings and attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere in the country.
Somalia's president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo made security a top priority, pledging to build up the national army in the hope that it can take charge when the AU mission that comes to an end in 2020.