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US airstrike kills 3 Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists in Somalia

MQ-9 Reaper during Exercise Northern Strike 2019. (Arizona Air National Guard/Released)
April 03, 2020

On Thursday U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) carried out an airstrike against members of Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terror group affiliated with Al Qaeda.

In their initial damage assessment, AFRICOM concluded the airstrike killed three Al-Shabaab members in Bush Madine, Somalia, while avoiding any civilian deaths or injuries. AFRICOM disclosed the strike in an emailed statement provided to American Military News.

The strike was carried out in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.

“Precision airstrikes like this protect innocent Somalis from a common enemy and assist the Federal Government of Somalia in alleviating security challenges,” U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Bradford J. Gering, the deputy director of operations for AFRICOM said.  “We’re enabling progress and creating opportunities for our partners to capitalize on. We’re seeing them do just that on the ground.”

U.S. airstrikes against the Al-Shabaab terror group have been common throughout the year so far.

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AFRICOM has carried out at least 20 other airstrikes targeting members of the Al-Shabaab terror group. The latest casualty assessment comes in addition to more than two dozen Al-Shabaab terrorists killed so far this year, along with numerous others wounded and multiple terrorist compounds destroyed.

AFRICOM stated in its press release stability for the Somali government cannot be achieved through military means alone and emphasized the need to secure aid for the Somali people.

“In support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to assist in the protection of the Somali people, including partnered military counterterrorism operations with the Federal Government of Somalia and Somali National Army forces,” the AFRICOM statement continued. “Together with the partner and allied forces, U.S. Africa Command works on a daily basis to improve security conditions to enhance governance and economic development. U.S. Africa Command continues to work with its Somali partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.”

U.S. forces have been positioned in Africa for years, targeting both ISIS-Somalia terrorists and the Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab terrorists.

AFRICOM conducted more than 60 airstrikes in Somalia during 2019, setting a record. They previously conducted 47 airstrikes in 2018 and 35 in 2017.

“Al-Shabaab kills regularly and indiscriminately,” Brig. Gen. Castellanos said in February. “This al-Qaida affiliate exploits innocent Somalis, displaces families, and imposes illegal taxes through force and violence. They want to export their vision of destruction more widely. It is our collective international efforts and persistent pressure that prevents this from occurring.”