Mogadishu, Somalia — The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) along with the Federal Government of Somalia (FSG) confirmed in a press release today that U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) fighter aircraft conducted a ‘precision airstrike’ in the Bay region of south-central Somalia.
The airstrike which occurred 75 kilometers west of the capital city of Mogadishu, provided direct support of an operation the Somalia National Army (SNA) and U.N.-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces were conducting against the al-Qeada linked terrorist organization known as Harakat al-Shabaab al-Muhajideen resulting in three of the group’s fighters killed.
AFRICOM press release:
“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, the Department of Defense conducted a precision airstrike in central Somalia against al-Shabaab militants on Tues., Sept. 5 at approximately 9:50 a.m. local Somalia time, killing three (3) terrorists.
The operation occurred in the Bay Region of Somalia, about 75 kilometers west of the capital, Mogadishu. The U.S. conducted this operation in support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali National Army (SNA) forces that were operating in the area.
Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world. Al-Shabaab has publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the U.S. and our partners in the region.
U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.”
The Bay region of south-central Somalia has seen heavy fighting between al-Shabaab and SNA/AMISOM forces in recent months. SNA and AMISOM hold a thin veil of control over the urban centers of the two major cities within the region, Dinsoor and Baidoa.
However, al-Shabaab holds sway over almost all of the rural Bay region with al-Shabaab guerrillas having recently taken over the town of Leego just south of Baidoa. Al-Shabaab fighters also captured a military base in the region belonging to the U.N -led African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) peace-keepers on the outskirts of the town without a single shot being fired.
This DoD airstrike is yet another in as many months with the most recent occurring near the Lower Shabelle town of Tortoroow in southern Somalia which killed southern Somalia Banadir Region commander of al-Shabaab, Ali Mohamed Hussien, also known as “Ali Jabal.” Ali Jabal was known to command the Mogadishu-based contingent of al-Shabaab and was responsible for many of the suicide bombing attacks in and around the capital city.
Joint U.S. and Somali Special Operations raids on al-Shabaab targets have also increased in the last few months as well with these raids either killing or capturing key members and leaders of the terror group. The U.S. appears to be in full support of the Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo’s all out offensive on the group which is known as “The al-Shabaab War” within the upper echelons of the Somali government and military.
Feature image courtesy of: Associated Press