US drone strikes target Al-Shabaab radio station in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least four missiles were launched by the US Africa Command in southern Somalia on Friday, it has emerged, with preliminary investigations showing that Al-Shabaab radio Andalus was the main target, but verified reports indicated that Al-Furqan radio was the one hit in the outskirts of Kunya-barrow.
A statement released by the US Africa Command confirmed that two airstrikes were launched on the eve of the new year, adding that the main target was an Al-Shabaab compound in the vicinity of Kunya-barrow, a notorious Al-Shabaab hideout.
Final assessments were ongoing, however, the initial assessment concluded the strikes resulted in the destruction of both targeted compounds. There was no mention of a radio station in the statement by the US Africa Command.
The command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation. "We take significant measures to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict during the course of our operations while we continue to disrupt and apply pressure to the al-Shabaab terrorist network".
"This action clearly demonstrates our continuing commitment to Somalia and our regional partners," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joel Tyler, director of operations for U.S. Africa Command. "We retain the means and the will to strike the al-Shabaab terrorist network when necessary to protect the region and ultimately, our own nation.”
U.S. Africa Command and its international partners recognize the importance of stability in Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to the U.S. and regional security interests, read the statement.
“Al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somalia’s future and U.S. interests, and we will continue to disrupt their efforts to terrorize civilians,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force-Quartz commander. “Our strikes help keep these terrorists off balance to help our partners then address deeper problems such as governance and development.”
U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with East African countries to help provide political, economic, and physical stability in the region and to work with international and African partners to achieve long-term security goals in Somalia for the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.
The airstrikes are the first this year and they came barely two weeks before the final exit of the US army from Somalia. The Department of Defense had hinted that the soldiers will be redeployed elsewhere across East Africa where they will still be launching airstrikes.