Mogadishu, Somalia | THE INDEPENDENT | Sixty two al-Shabaab militants have been killed in weekend air-strikes on their camps in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Somalia, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has said in a statement.
According to an AFRICOM assessment, their forces conducted six airstrikes, with 34 militants killed on December 15 and 28 on December 16, with no civilians involved.
AFRICOM said all the airstrikes were conducted in close coordination with the Somalia government to degrade al-Shabaab’s freedom of movement and to increase pressure on the terrorist network.
“The strikes targeted a known al-Shabab encampment. US Africa Command and our Somalia partners conducted these airstrikes to prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire and recruit for future attacks,” AFRICOM said in the statement.
The rebels use the safe havens to build capacity and attack Somalia. In particular, the group uses portions of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct terror attacks, steal humanitarian aid, extort the local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists.
The statement added that, “U.S. Africa Command will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States, and U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and Somali National Army forces.”
SOURCE: U.S. AFRICA COMMAND