More than 60 Somali militants killed in air strikes, says US military

US Africa Command reveals details of attacks targeting al-Shabab extremists

Adam Forrest
Monday 17 December 2018 14:46
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US F-16 jet fighters
US F-16 jet fighters

The US military said it had carried out six air strikes in Somalia which killed a total of 62 al-Shabab extremists.

US armed forces carried out four strikes on Saturday which killed 34 people and two more on Sunday which left another 28 people dead, according to a statement released on Monday by US Africa Command.

All the air attacks were in the Gandarshe coastal area south of the capital Mogadishu.

No civilians were injured or killed in the attacks, according to US Africa Command. “At this time we assess these air strikes did not injure or kill any civilians.”

All six strikes were carried out in close coordination with the Somalian government, the statement added.

The air strikes were “conducted to prevent al-Shabab from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future attacks,” it said.

Al-Shabab uses parts of southern and central Somalia to plot and direct extremist attacks, US Africa Command claimed. The statement also said the group had exploited the region to “steal humanitarian aid, extort local populace to fund its operations, and shelter radical terrorists”.

The US military has now carried out at least 46 air strikes so far this year against al-Shabab, considered Africa’s most active Islamist extremist group.

Allied to al-Qaida, al-Shabab controls parts of rural southern and central Somalia and has staged a series of deadly attacks in Mogadishu and other cities. At least 20 people were killed after four car bombs exploded outside a hotel in the capital in November. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.

The US air strikes have picked up dramatically since President Donald Trump took office and approved expanded military operations in the Horn of Africa nation.

Last month, the US military said it had killed 37 militants in Somalia. Air strikes have also targeted a small presence of fighters linked to Isis.

Additional reporting by agencies

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