Mogadishu, Somalia — Regional Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) assigned to the U.N. peace-keeping mission known as the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) in the Gedo region of southern Somalia conducted multiple airstrikes against a suspected base occupied by the al-Qaeda affiliated East African terror group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (al-Shabaab).
The Kenyan Air Force targeted Al Shabaab military bases located in Wargadud, located 40 kilometers west of El Ade district in southern Somalia. Military intelligence reports also show that the aerial campaign enabled KDF ground troops to conduct land operations against the terror group. The combined operation destroyed Al Shabaab military facilities and also destroyed a significant quantity of military resources owned by the terror group.
KDF has played a significant role in aiding AMISOM to degrade al-Shabaab military capacity in Somalia. Nonetheless, the terror group still retains the capacity to conduct low-scale hit-and-run attacks against government targets, SNA and AMISOM troops.
This latest attack comes on the heels of yet another claim by KDF in which Kenyan ground forces scored 52 confirmed al-Shabaab fighters killed in a raid on one of their hideouts in the Lower Juba region of Somalia last Friday. This prompted General Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), to declare at the end of the African Chiefs of Defense conference in Stuttgart, Germany, that AMISOM has all but defeated al-Shabaab militarily. AFRICOM reiterated that the U.S. military’s rules of engagement have not changed for land or air contact as of yet and stated that this airstrike operation was conducted by the Kenyan forces assigned to AMISOM.
However, Gen. Waldhauser is currently seeking more ‘flexible’ rules of engagement in regards to striking al-Shabaab with U.S. warplanes or drones without turning Somalia into a “free-fire zone.” The White House along with the Department of Defense is still considering but has not yet approved the request for more relaxed rules of engagement.
Featured Image courtesy of The Sentinel