Troops close roads near US military base in Somalia after attack
KISMAYO, Somalia - Members of the public will not have access to roads within 5 KM from Janata Abdalle military outpost in Jubaland, the Somali National Army [SNA] and Jubaland forces said in a statement, just hours after the Al-Shabaab militants attacked the military on Monday in southern Somalia.
In a statement on Monday, the Danab 43rd unit said that the roads will remain closed until an operation against Al-Shabaab militants believed to be in nearby forests is completed. The closure of the roads will enhance safety for the civilians within the region, they said.
The operation is expected to go on until the entire region is secured and the US Africa Command is likely to take part in the exercise, but the Danab Special Forces and their Jubaland counterpart did not give the slightest indication that the US forces will be part of the operation.
"This is to inform all members of the public that roads within 5 KM from Janay Abdalle will not be open to all of them. This will allow our team to conduct an operation against the Al-Shabaab militants following the Monday morning attack against our team," read the statement.
This will ensure that civilians are protected from military actions in Somalia, which have in the past raised concerns from members of the public. They have been claims of civilian deaths from operations otherwise targeting the Al-Shabaab militants across Somalia, but only a few have been admitted.
On Monday, the Al-Shabaab militants raided Janaa Abdalle base which hosts SNA and US Africa Command, at least 50 KM West of Kismayo. In a statement, the militants claimed that they killed four US servicemen and 16 Danab forces, adding that over 12 were critically injured.
But in a quick rejoinder, Col. Chris Karns, who is in charge of publicity in the US Africa Command, denied claims that the US servicemen died in the attack. Instead, he added, only one member was critically injured during the attack, saying that he's in a stable condition and was receiving treatment.
The attackers, he said, raided the outpost when the elite Danaab forces and US army were carrying out advice, assist and accompany the mission, adding that the VBIED was restrained by the forces in an attack that left at least one Al-Shabaab militant dead.
"One US serviceman was injured when Al-Shabaab attacked Janay Abdille where the US and SNA forces were conducting advise, assist and accompany the mission. They used a vehicle employed as an improvised device and mortar fire," he said in a statement.
"The service member is in a stable condition. It was also assessed that at least one Al-Shabaab member was killed during the attack. Al-Shabaab remains a dangerous enemy," the officer noted, adding that the US military will continue helping Somalia to degrade the militants.
The attack come at the time the SNA, US Africa Command, and the Africa Union Mission troops are conducting joint operations against the militants. So far, the operations have led to the liberation of several strategic towns, killing and arrest of top Al-Shabaab commanders in the Horn of Africa nation.
A statement issued by Ismael Mukhtaar, the spokesman of Somalia's Ministry of Information, said that two SNA officers died during the operation. In addition, he noted, three Danaab forces were critically injured during the attack, which was the second major successful raid against the US Army and allies in Somalia soil.