The United States of America has conducted two targeted airstrikes in Somalia killing 8 explosive experts working for the al-Qaeda linked Islamic militant group, Al-Shabaab.
A statement released by the Department of State said the airstrike was conducted by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) in coordination with the Somalia Government.
“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted two (2) airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab explosives experts in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, Dec. 10,” said part of the statement.
The AFRICOM Commander, Gen. Stephen Townsend said the brutal Islamic group is going to be downgraded by continuous attacks.
“We will continue to apply pressure to the al-Shabaab network. They continue to undermine Somali security, and need to be contained and degraded,” said Gen. Townsend.
Adding: “The initial assessment indicates the strike killed eight terrorists who were known to play important roles in producing explosives for al-Shabaab, to include vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).”
Al-Shabaab conducts dozens of VBIED attacks annually across central and southern Somalia, including against civilian, government, and U.S. targets. Since 2018, the group has conducted an estimated 45 VBIED attacks in Mogadishu alone, collectively resulting in the death of over 400 civilians, security forces and government officials.
“This strike should demonstrate to any enemy that we stand by our partners and will vigorously defend both ourselves and our partners during this repositioning and future operations,” said Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force – Quartz commander.
U.S. Africa Command chiefs said they recognize the importance of stability in Somalia.
“While peace and stability require strong governance and providing economic programs and opportunity for the Somali people, security remains foundational to each. Al-Shabaab remains a dangerous franchise of al-Qaeda,” said Townsend.
He noted that the U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with East African countries to include building and maintaining regional security and placing pressure on al-Shabaab in order to advance mutual interests.
“U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with international and African partners to ensure long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States,” said Gen. Townsend.