Possible human-written rewrite: Local leaders in central Somalia report five casualties in an alleged drone attack
Suspected Airstrike Claims Lives in Central Somalia, According to Local Leaders
A tragic incident unfolded in central Somalia when a suspected airstrike resulted in the deaths of five civilians and three members of the al Shabaab militant group. However, accounts of the event differ as reports suggest that a landmine planted by the militants caused the deaths of a woman and two children in a house compound in the village of El-Lahelay, Galgadud state.
The Somali state broadcaster declared that the three al Shabaab leaders killed in the operation were targeted due to their involvement in the al Qaeda-affiliated group. This operation, described as a “special operation,” occurred on Wednesday night, as reported by the state news agency SONNA. It is noteworthy that the agency did not mention the use of a drone or the casualties among the innocent family.
Africa Command (AFRICOM), the U.S. military forces assisting the Somali government in its ongoing offensive against al Shabaab, confirmed the elimination of three militants and also acknowledged that injured civilians were safely evacuated. However, AFRICOM stated that it was not present at the scene and did not conduct any airstrikes during or in support of the operation.
According to local leader Farah Aden, a drone had tracked the militants to a house in El-Lahelay, which happened to belong to one of their relatives. As the militants were enjoying a meal outside, the drone struck them, but the house and civilians were not intentionally targeted. Unfortunately, the civilians suffered injuries from the bomb’s shrapnel.
Both al Shabaab and the government communications minister have yet to respond to requests for comments from Reuters regarding this incident.
It is worth mentioning that last year, Somalia’s interior minister stated that the military was utilizing Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drones in their efforts to combat al Shabaab. The militant group has been progressively pushed out from significant areas of the country’s central region.