Somalia: US military kills 4 militants in 'self-defense' airstrike
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The U.S. military said Monday it carried out 'self-defense' airstrike against Al-Shabab after militants attacked local partner forces in southern Somalia, Garowe Online reports.
The U.S. Africa Command says in a statement the airstrike was conducted on Sunday in the vicinity of Araare, a small rebel-held town located outside the port city of Kismayo, capital of Lower Jubba region.
"In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted a collective self-defense airstrike targeting al-Shabab militants in the vicinity of Araara, Somalia, on Oct. 14, 2018," said AFRICOM in the statement.
AFRICOM added that it assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike that was the latest in series of aerial bombardments targeting the Islamist group in Somalia, including ISIL-linked fighters.
"No U.S. service members were present on the ground during this Somali-led operation," the U.S. Africa Command said Monday.
The U.S. has carried out more than 23 such airstrikes this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africa.
American military involvement in Somalia has grown since President Donald Trump has approved in March last year expanded operations against al-Shabab.
A service member was killed in May 2017 during an operation against Al-Shabab in Bariire, Lower Shabelle region about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Mogadishu.
Last June, another U.S. special operations soldier was killed and 4 U.S. service members hurt in an “Al-Shabab attack” after their base in Sunguni area near Kismayo came under mortar and small-arms fire.
The U.S. currently has about 1,000 military personnel in the Horn of Africa nation, providing support to Somali and African Union forces who are fighting Al-Shabab for nearly a decade.
Al-Shabab, which seeks to oust the Western-backed weak Somali Federal Government, was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 but continues to control rural areas in the south and central regions.