The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is keeping the pressure on the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia despite the redeployment of troops from Somalia to other countries in East Africa.
AFRICOM conducted another airstrike against the group on Wednesday, striking a compound in the vicinity of Buulo Fulaay in southern Somalia killing one of the group’s members.
In a released statement, AFRICOM said that according to its initial assessment no civilians were injured or killed as a result of the operation.
“This strike in Buulo Fulaay combined with recent strikes, shows our resolve and degrades al-Shabaab’s ability to threaten Somalia and its neighbors,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force – Quartz commander. “Side by side with our partners, we plan to leave no safe place for al-Shabaab to hide.”
This was the third time this month that AFRICOM has hit al-Shabaab in Somalia with airstrikes. On January 1, the command conducted two drone strikes that targeted al-Shabaab compounds near Qunyo Barrow. The drone strikes killed three and wounded one al-Shabaab member; they destroyed six and damaged one al-Shabaab compound buildings.
On January 7, AFRICOM targeted a building in the vicinity of Saaxa Weyne in which the group’s leaders were meeting. In that strike, five al-Shabaab members were killed including the targeted leaders.
“This strike targeted known al-Shabaab leaders who facilitated finance, weapons, fighters, and explosives. One is suspected of being involved in a previous attack against U.S. and Somali forces,” he said. “Our continued disruption of al-Shabaab through persistent strikes shows our ongoing commitment to our partners.”
Also on January 7, Somali troops from the 60th Division killed a senior commander and eight of his bodyguards who were preparing an attack.
“We killed al-Shabaab commander for the Bay region, Mukhtar Nurow and eight of his bodyguards during the operation today. Prior intelligence reports helped our forces to be alert and defeat their attempt to attack SNA base here,” General Mohamed Sheikh Abdullahi, the commander of the 60th Division said.
The group has been after the overthrow of the Somali government since 2006. In 2012, it aligned itself with al-Qaeda. Al-Shabaab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2015 but still controls large swaths of rural areas.
The Islamic State (ISIS) had tried in 2015 to get al-Shabaab to switch allegiance from al-Qaeda to ISIS. When some members crossed over, infighting erupted within the group.
U.S. forces, despite a small footprint in the country, have been keeping the al-Shabaab terrorists thwarted. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go as the fight between the Somali government and the terrorist group is in flux.