Somalia: US drone kills Al-Shabaab militant in Jubaland
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least one Al-Shabaab militant was on Tuesday killed in Jubaland following the latest airstrike, US military confirmed, as part of the crackdown against the insurgents.
The attack was waged at Beerhaani, West of the former Al-Shabaab stronghold city of Kismayo, AFRICOM added.
Al-Shabaab has retreated to remote villages in southern Somalia, following onslaught by allied forces within Mogadishu and the environs.
Tuesday's airstrike was the eight this year in the Southern part of the country, which has struggled to stabilize for three decades now.
Civilians safe after the crackdown
The attack left one militant dead, although his identity was yet to be established by the armed forces, AFRICOM said.
"Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist," read the statement from AFRICOM, the major partners with SNA in Al-Shabaab war.
Previously, such airstrikes have left many civilians wounded and in some instances, deaths, which have been condemned by human rights groups.
But the US military assured residents safety, adding: "We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike."
Militants neutralized in Jubaland
For over a decade now, Al-Shabaab has waged sporadic attacks across East Africa, leaving over 4,000 civilians dead, UN said.
US military has intensified campaigns to degrade the Al-Qaida associated group in central and southern Somalia, recording significant progress in the process.
Last week, the US team with the help of SNA managed to destroy an Al-Shabaab compound in Jilib, the headquarters of the militants, officials said.
The airstrikes have so far left about ten militants dead since January this year. Last year, AFRICOM executed a record of 63 airstrikes across Somalia.
While the militants have abandoned illegal charcoal trade, they are however resorted to mafia-style taxation to fund their activities, UN Panel of Experts observed.
US' role in degrading Al-Shabaab
But undeterred, the US military, has pledged to continue working closely with Somalia and partners to thwart the Al-Shabaab menace.
Gen. Miguel Castellanos said: "The U.S. provides unrivaled and highly desired security force assistance options to our partners in Somalia."
The airstrikes, Miguel, who is the deputy director of operations of AFRICOM said, aims at weakening the militants in the long-term strategy to vanquish them.
"Armed over-watch and precision engagement capabilities will continue to create big-time challenges for al-Shabaab."
In recent days, the militants have been coordinating attacks within the Somali capital, a move that has reportedly fueled internal rebellion and subsequent defections.
FGS facing Al-Shabaab threat
Federal Goverment of Somalia is struggling to stamp her authority, with frequent Al-Shabaab attacks destabilizing the region.
Somalia, US said, "remains key to the security environment of East Africa, and its long-term stability is important to advancing our interests in the region."
Currently, there are about 600 US military officers in Somalia, whose main duty is to offer logistical support besides training SNA forces.
"We will continue to work together on our support of the Federal Government of Somalia in its effort to bring improved governance," AFRICOM added.
Also, the fragile UN-backed Somalia government relies on over 22,000 AMISOM troops who have been in the country since 2010.