Somalia: U.S. military says ‘self-defense’ airstrike kills militants
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The U.S. military conducted a "self-defence" airstrike against al Shabaab fighters in Somalia after a joint Somali-US force came under direct attack by militants, Garowe Online reports.
The U.S. Africa Command, which oversees military operations in the continent said in a statement Thursday that the drone strike took place in Mubarak, a small town located about 37 miles west of Mogadishu on 11th September 2018.
Ahmed Yusuf, a local resident told Garowe Online that US troops, accompanied by Somali partner forces called in the airstrike after they encountered fire during a joint operation against alShabaab in the area.
“We currently assess two terrorists were killed and one terrorist was wounded in the strike. We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike,” AFRICOM said in its statement.
The United States said no U.S. personnel were injured or killed and all are accounted for following this operation, but, 1 Somali soldier was killed in the operation and two sustained wounds in the action.
Somali Government is yet to comment on the raid against Al-Shabaab, which was the latest in series of U.S. airstrikes targeting Al-Shabaab and ISIL-linked faction based in Puntland in the past months.
US President Donald Trump in March 2017 gave more power to AFRICOM to carry out “precision airstrikes” in support of African Union and Somali troops fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The U.S. has an estimated of 500 soldiers in Somalia who have been advising local forces and UN-mandated AU troops battling al-Shabaab since 2013.
Last June, one U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four other service members wounded in an “Al-Shabaab attack” in Sanguni, some 50Km north of Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia.
The first killing of a U.S. service member in Somalia since 1993 was in May 2017 during an operation in Barire town in Lower Shabelle region, about 40 miles (64 kilometres) west of Mogadishu.