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UPDATE: Pentagon confirms U.S. airstrike in Somalia, 8 militants killed

Hiiraan Online
Sunday June 11, 2017


FILE PHOTO

Mogadishu (HOL) - U.S Forces have conducted an airstrike on Al-Shabaab positions in Sakow, 300km southwest of the capital according to a statement by Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White.

The Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo authorized the airstrike just days after vowing revenge against the militant extremists for their deadly attack on a Puntland military base on Thursday.

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“Earlier today, I authorized our special forces with the support of our international partners to conduct a strike against an al Shabaab training camp near Sakow,” his statement said.

The President also reiterated his call for militants to take the amnesty offered by the government.

“To the members of Al-Shabaab, I tell you that we are bringing the fight to fight to you. Of you, however, take advantage of my amnesty offer and denounce violence, we will integrate you into our reform program.

It is not yet known what damage the airstrikes have caused, however, the strike targeted “command and supply hubs”, which the President believes will reduce their ability to launch attacks.

“This was a successful strike that destroyed a key Al-Shabaab command and supply hub. This will ultimately disrupt the enemy’s ability to conduct new attacks within Somalia.” The US Africa Command has said in a statement that “current assessments are eight (8) al-Shabaab militants killed in the strike”.



Although it is not yet apparent whether any high commanding officers were killed in the attack, VOA’s Harun Maruf was told that deputy commander Mahad Karate was one possible target. Pentagon officials would not go on record to confirm this.

The same statement also acknowledges the efficiency of Al-Shabaab’s blitz attacks on military bases, as well as the war supplies they’ve amassed through such attacks.

"In the last eight months, al-Shabaab has overrun three African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Forward Operating Bases by amassing large numbers of fighters and attacking in overwhelming numbers. Al-Shabaab has also increased its combat capability by seizing heavy weaponry, armored vehicles, explosives, small arms, ammunition, and other miscellaneous supplies during its operations overrunning Burundian National Defense Forces FOB Leego, Ugandan People's Defense Force FOB Janaale, and Kenyan Defense Force FOB Ceel Ad."

This was the first U.S. attack on Al-Shabaab since President Donald Trump granted the pentagon expanded authority on March 30 of this year.

Previously, U.S. forces only carried out airstrikes in situations that pose an ‘imminent threat’ to Americans on the ground. However, the expanded authority given to the U.S. military establishes parts of southern Somalia as “areas of active hostility”, paving the way for the more active counter terrorism missions in the region.

U.S. Soldiers have been in Somalia since at least mid-April when the Trump administration authorized the first contingent deployed to the Horn of Africa nation since Somali militiamen shot down two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters in 1993.

In a Department of Defense release, Dana White said that U.S forces will continue to work with Somalia to dismantle Al-Shabaab.

"We remain committed to working with our Somali partners and allies to systematically dismantle al-Shabab, and help achieve stability and security throughout the region," White said.


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