US military forces, in conjunction with Somali special troops, have conducted an operation against a major bastion of the Takfiri al-Shabab militants in the southern part of Somalia, inflicting losses on the extremists.
The Pentagon said in a statement on Sunday that the strike took place at around 0600 GMT and “in coordination with regional partners as a direct response to al-Shabab actions, including recent attacks on Somali forces.”
The statement emphasized that the strike was carried out as part of US President Donald Trump’s March authorization of American forces “to conduct legal action against al-Shabab within a geographically defined area of active hostilities in support of (the) partner force in Somalia.”
Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said Somalian special forces played a role in the attack against the extremists’ training center near Sakow district in the Middle Juba region.
“The mission, which was successfully ended, destroyed an important training camp where the group used to organize violent operations. This undermines their ability to mastermind more attacks,” Mohamed said.
Military spokesman for al-Shabab, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said in a statement that the al-Qaeda-linked militants had killed 61 Somalian soldiers after overrunning a military base in Af Urur town on Thursday.
Musab said al-Shabab fighters had also seized munitions and vehicles from the base.
Bari region governor Yusuf Mohamed confirmed that a number of soldiers had been killed during fierce exchanges of gunfire across the troubled region.
“Al-Shabab attacked Af Urur town this morning. There were few soldiers there and thus al-Shabab captured the town. It is difficult to know the casualties because the telecommunications were cut off,” he said.
Al-Shabab militant group has intensified its deadly bombings in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu since the new government took office in February.
The long-chaotic Horn of Africa nation has been the scene of deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.
African Union troops forced the Takfiris out of the capital in 2011, but militants still control parts of the countryside and carry out attacks against government, military and civilian targets in Mogadishu and regional towns.
By Africafrique and agencies