By David Ochieng Mbewa
Friday September 11, 2020
FILE PHOTO: Al-Qaeda linked Al-shabaab recruits walk down a street in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu. AFP PHOTO/Mohamed ABDIWAHAB
The United States military released the identity of the senior Al-Shabaab leader who was killed in an airstrike in Somalia last month.
A statement by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the leader was a terrorist known as Abdulqadir Commandos, who held numerous positions within the Islamist militant group, including recently serving as a senior Al-Shabaab commander.
The airstrike took place in the vicinity of Saakow in Somalia’s Middle Juba region on August 25 and AFRICOM, at the time, said it had been targeting an unidentified Al-Shabaab senior leader.
A preliminary assessment indicated that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of the airstrike.
AFRICOM commander U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said it will continue to cooperate with Somali security forces to continue to weaken the Al-Shabaab network by removing key leaders from its ranks.
“Operations such as this strike at the heart of al-Shabaab and are critical to degrading their ability to spread chaos and violence in Somalia and beyond. We will continue to work with our Somali partners to keep the pressure on these terrorists,” Townsend said.
AFRICOM said it had conducted 46 airstrikes targeting the militant group this year some of which have resulted in the elimination of a number of key leaders of the network.
Some of the leaders taken out were: Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud, aka Bashir Qoorgaab, Yusif Jiis, and most recently Abdulqadir Commandos.
“Doing so makes Somalia and America safer,” Townsend added.
Al-Shabaab has waged a war against Somalia’s central government for several years in a bid to oust it and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.
The war has killed thousands of people and forced millions of others to flee their homes.