U.S. Airstrike Kills 24 Al-Shabab Militants In Somalia

Mogadishu – (warsoor) – The U.S. military on Thursday said that its forces conducted an airstrike near a terrorist encampment in Central Somalia on Wednesday, killing 24 al-Shabab terrorists, Gregg Olson, Africom’s director of operations, said.

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the precision airstrike at the vicinity of Shebeeley, Hiran region is part of a larger effort to support the Somali forces as it increases pressure on the terrorist network and its’ recruiting efforts in the region.

“Precision strikes are part of our strategy. Strikes continue to help our partners make progress in their fight against the transnational terrorists, who oppose peace in Somalia and in the region,” Olson stated.

Olson said the Somali National Army (SNA) and its partners would continue to effectively target terrorist training camps and assessed safe havens in order to deny al-Shabab the ability to build capacity and attack the people of Somalia.

“At this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike,” said Africom which oversees American troops on the African continent.

The U.S. strikes have largely targeted al-Shabab figureheads based in Southern and Central Somalia where the group still maintains a strong grip.

The extremists have recently increased their attacks against AU and Somali forces especially in Mogadishu, targeting their bases, hotels and other public places.

Similarly, the AU top envoy in Somalia called on AU Mission in Somalia New Force Commander, Tigabu Wondimhunegn from Ethiopia to sustain onslaught against al-Shabab militants in the country.

Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, said there was still enormous work to be done before completion of the mission’s mandate.

“There is work to be done. We have not yet finished our mandate. The task ahead is enormous but I am very confident that you can do it,” Madeira told the new force commander according to a statement issued after the handover ceremony in Mogadishu.

Wondimhunegn took office from outgoing force commander, Jim Owoyesigire, who has served in that capacity since January 2018.

The AU mission’s peacekeepers have stepped up onslaught against insurgents, who want to topple the government of Somalia.

Wondimhunegn has 34 years’ experience in the military and has served the Ethiopia National Defence Force in several capacities.

Source: Xinhua/NAN

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