U.S. claims responsibility for strike in Somalia targeting al-Shabaab leader
The US has claimed responsibility for an airstrike in Somalia that killed a senior leader of the militant group Al-Shabaab.
The US Africa Command said in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, it conducted an airstrike against the al-Shabaab militant network in Somalia on Saturday.
The strike occurred near Jilib, about 370 kilometres southwest of Mogadishu.
According to the Somali Government which was first to confirm the airstrike, Abdullahi Nadir Yare who was killed in the strike was next in line for leadership of the Islamist militant group which wants to topple Somalia’s central and state governments.
The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism said Abdullahi Nadir Yare who was one of the co-founders of the al-Shabab Militant group and had a 3 million U.S. dollar bounty on his head, was accompanied by the son of senior controversial cleric Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aways.
The targeted official was the head preacher of the group and one of the most notorious members of the Shabab group.
He previously once served as the personal assistant to former al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Godane.
He is believed to have joined the group around 2004 and has since then been an active member of the network.
AFRICOM in a statement following the drone attack said initial assessment indicated that the strike killed an al-Shabaab leader and that “no civilians were injured or killed.”
Africa Command said “alongside its partners, it will continue to take action to prevent this group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians.”
The US Africa Command has reassured Somalia of its support for Somali Armed Forces in their quest to secure the country.
“Our forces will continue training, advising, and equipping partner forces to give them the tools that they need to degrade al-Shabaab,” said AFRICOM in a statement.
Last Month at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buuloburde.
The airstrikes have been helpful in the fight against the insurgent group which has about 7000 armed men, fighting for their cause.
The group has carried out numerous attacks including Monday’s triple Car Bomb attacks targeting the headquarters of the Hiraan Regional Administration.