US military conducts counterterrorism operation in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Without giving detailed information, the US Africa Command has announced the latest airstrike in Somalia, in a concerted effort to help eradicate Al-Shabaab militants, who have been on the receiving end for the last four months in the Horn of Africa nation, whose instability has been a major concern for international partners.
The command has been cooperating with the Somali National Army [SNA], the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS], and the local militia since their return with their role only limited to aerial surveillance. The US military resumed operations in Somalia last year after months of absence.
A statement released by the US Africa Command on Thursday evening noted that "The U.S. military conducted a successful counterterrorism operation in Somalia. Additional details will be provided in the coming days."
"Given the remote location of the operation, the assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed. Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote greater security for all Africans," added the statement, without giving many details.
Usually, the American military conducts due diligence before it releases details to the general public, a strategy geared towards embracing the international code of conduct for such operations. America announced an airstrike at Gal'ad town earlier this week which according to data collected, left two Al-Shabaab militants dead.
But before the statement was released, the Somali National Army had announced the killing of over 100 Al-Shabaab militants in Gal'ad town besides confiscating 5 armoured vehicles while the Al-Shabaab claimed to have butchered over 156 SNA soldiers and confiscating 45 armoured vehicles.
On Thursday, the government of Somalia in partnership with religious scholars concluded a three-day forum that aimed at discussing strategic ways of disposing of the militants from key areas across the country. Already, the fight against the Al-Qaida-linked group has gathered momentum in different parts of Somalia.
The Somali religious scholars said the war against al-Shabaab, Daesh is “jihad,” and those killed while fighting them are “martyrs.” In a strongly-worded communique after the 3-day Summit in Mogadishu, scholars backed the federal government, they said “criminal” militants lack religious legitimacy.
The government of Somalia dismissed long-time Police Commander General Hijaar, replacing him with General Ahmed. The Al-Shabaab extortionists have been conducting sporadic retaliatory attacks against the local militia, Somali National Army, and senior government officials across the country.
US Africa Command resumed airstrikes last year after a study done by the United Nations indicated that Al-Shabaab had scaled up operations against innocent civilians after their exit. Pentagon under President Joe Biden authorized their reinstatement in 2022.