US intensifies drone strikes against Al-Shabaab in Somalia

MQ-9 Crew Chief at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, December 19, 2016 (U.S. Air Force/J.M. Eddins, Jr.)

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The US Africa Command waged yet another airstrike in Somalia on Tuesday, the military has confirmed, in what would likely be a difficult year for the Al-Shabaab militants who have already lost key towns across the country following an offensive that was activated by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud when he assumed the presidency.

Tuesday's drone strike in Somalia was the sixth this year and the third within the month of February according to statistics given by the Command. The US military resumed activities in the Horn of Africa nation last year after almost 12 months of absence following the unprecedented withdrawal in 2021 after the exit of Donald Trump.

But the pressure from Pentagon and Senate forced President Joe Biden to redeploy the military to Somalia to assist "our partners in the fight against Al-Shabaab". The redeployment seems to have yielded fruits given that the command has been engineering most of the operations against the militants in central and southern Somalia.

The most recent airstrike was planned and executed in Galmadug state, northwest of the capital Mogadishu, at least 510 kilometers from the Central Business District of the headquarters. US Africa Command said the strike was a “collective self-defense” and came at the request of the federal government of Somalia.

Several Al-Shabaab militants were killed in the airstrike. The command added but insisted that there were no civilian casualties. The government of Somalia had hinted at the airstrike on Tuesday, insisting that the military was targeting senior Al-Shabaab commanders following the hint by members of the public.

Al-Shabaab, who have lost key towns across the country, have reverted to cowardly attacks targeting innocent civilians and members of the armed forces but the strategy has been largely futile, given the resilience of members of the army and a backup from the clan militia across the county.

The Al-Shabaab extortionists have also suffered on the financial front after the government of Somalia imposed restrictions on mobile money transfer firms which have been linked to aiding Al-Shabaab's money flow.

Local business owners have also been warned against remitting taxes to the militants, with those found culpable risking having their licenses canceled.


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