US Forces Carry Out Airstrike, Neutralizing 13 al-Shabab Fighters
Monday August 28, 2023
The United States military stationed in Africa, commonly known as AFRICOM, has conducted an airstrike against al-Shabab militants in Somalia, resulting in the death of thirteen fighters.
This airstrike, labeled as a “collective self-defense” operation, occurred near Seiera, approximately 45 kilometers northwest of Kismayo.
AFRICOM has stated that the purpose of this airstrike was to support Somali forces who were engaged in combat with al-Shabab fighters.
“In collaboration with the Somali National Army, the initial assessment by U.S. Africa Command suggests that the airstrike successfully eliminated thirteen al-Shabab fighters, with no reports of civilian casualties,” AFRICOM conveyed in an official statement. “Further evaluation of the operation’s outcome will be conducted, and relevant information will be shared accordingly. For security reasons, specific details regarding the units and resources utilized will not be disclosed.”
The United States regards al-Shabab as the largest and most active al-Qaida network worldwide, as al-Shabab merged with al-Qaida back in February 2012.
“[Al-Shabab] has demonstrated both its intent and capability to launch attacks against partner and U.S. forces, posing a threat to security interests in the region,” AFRICOM declared.
Concurrently, al-Shabab militants launched an attack on the recently liberated village of Cowsweyne in the central Galmudug state, resulting in the killing of government soldiers on Saturday, as confirmed by anonymous security sources who spoke with VOA.
According to these sources, who requested anonymity due to restrictions on discussing sensitive military operations, the militants utilized vehicle-borne explosive devices (VBIEDs) or car bombs to assault the village. They were followed by armed militants engaging in an intense firefight with government forces.
Somalia’s state-run news agency, SONNA, reported that government forces successfully repelled the attack and neutralized the VBIEDs.
However, al-Shabab, the extremist group, released a press statement claiming that they had “overrun” the base, resulting in the killing of 178 soldiers and the capture of several prisoners. Nevertheless, this claim has not been verified independently.
More than 24 hours after the attack, the situation in Cowsweyne, situated 60 kilometers northwest of Ceel Dheer town, remains unclear. A local official characterized the assault on Cowsweyne as “devastating.”
The Somali government had recently recaptured Cowsweyne on August 22 as part of its effort to oust al-Shabab from central Somalia and compel the militants to retreat to the southern regions.
Military officials have disclosed that their primary targets in the state are Elbur and Galhareri. Somali forces managed to capture Elbur unopposed on Friday. Al-Shabab militants have been withdrawing from towns and villages, regrouping in rural areas, and preparing for a prolonged guerrilla warfare strategy.