Saturday January 21, 2023
Mogadishu (HOL) - The U.S. military killed 30 members of Shabaab, Al Qaeda's branch in East Africa, in an airstrike in support of a Somali military in central Somalia.
US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the drone strikes were requested by Somalia's federal government and occurred near Gal'ad, 265km north of Mogadishu, as SNA soldiers were repelling an Al Shabaab attack on a military compound.
"The combined actions by partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defense strike is estimated to have resulted in three destroyed vehicles and approximately thirty al-Shabaab terrorists killed."
"Given the remote location of the fighting, the command assesses that no civilians were injured or killed."
U.S. Africa Command said that they and Somalia's federal government "take great measures to prevent civilian casualties" and that they "remain committed" to opposing al-Shabab, which they described as "the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world."
"The U.S. is one of several countries providing support to the Federal Government of Somalia in its ongoing campaign to disrupt, degrade and defeat terrorist groups. Rooting out extremism ultimately requires intervention beyond traditional military means, leveraging U.S. and partner efforts to support effective governance, promote stabilization and economic development, and resolve ongoing conflicts."
Somalia's federal government said that more than 100 Al Shabaab fighters
were killed after they attacked a Somali National Army base in the newly-liberated Gal'ad district. It added that seven soldiers
– including a deputy commander
from the U.S.-trained Danab brigade – were killed in the "intense attack" but said it successfully repelled the Al Shabaab attack.
In a statement, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it had "miraculously overrun the U.S.-trained forces" in the town and killed over 150 fighters.
It is common for the government and Al Shabaab to give different death tolls for the same attack.
Saturday's strike is the latest U.S. drone strike targeting Al Shabaab fighters. In June 2022, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) carried out an air attack in Somalia, killing five
al-Shabab fighters. Another air attack in July killed two militants
. A month later, AFRICOM launched at least five air strikes that purportedly killed 17 Al Shabaab militants
. AFRICOM announced in September that it had killed 27 fighters
in a strike. The US. military confirmed two more Al Shabaab fighters
during a strike in late October.