US airstrike in Somalia kills 'mastermind' behind Manda Airstrip attack


NAIROBI, Kenya - One of the Al-Shabaab leaders behind the Manda airstrip attack was killed in the recent airstrike by the US army in Somalia, Chief of Defence Forces General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhydin has confirmed, in what has been termed as a major milestone in the Al-Shabaab war.

The January 5th, 2020 attack left three Americans dead and since then, the US Army has been pursuing attackers, making significant milestones in the process. Of the three casualties, one was serving in the military while two were contractors.

While announcing the progress, General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhydin said the Middle Jubba attack on 17th December killed the militant, who has been on the run for three years. The airstrike was officially confirmed by US Africa Command on Tuesday.

Throughout his hideout, Moalim Ayman had a $10 million bounty on his head, with the US and Somali forces activating search across the country. The attack in coastal Kenya was mostly organized by several foreigners, some of whom are on the run in Somalia.

Moalim Ayman, authorities said, mainly organized the attack, adding that he was cornered after a search for months. Middle Jubba is zoned as the main Al-Shabaab zone and there have been deliberate attempts to destroy terror cells as Somalia fights to restore order.

In a statement, the US said: "This is another step to defeat the terrorist group that undermines Somalia’s peace and development. Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests. U.S. Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians."

"Somalia remains key to the security environment in East Africa. U.S. Africa Command’s forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab."

The US Africa Command said it will continue to assess the results of the operation and will provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units involved and assets used will not be released to ensure operational security.

During the Manda Bay attack, the Kenya Defense Forces were accused of failing to protect their American counterparts by providing backup, but the matter was resolved after.

Since then, the US has invested millions of dollars in security within East Africa, while assisting in equipping the Somali National Army.


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