US military raids Al-Shabaab camp kills four militants in Somalia, GO
The US military conducted yet another deadly airstrike in Somali on Saturday, adding to the increasing raids targeting Al-Shabaab hideouts, AFRICOM said in a statement.
Saturday’s airstrike in the vicinity Gandarshe Al-Shabaab camp was the 21st raid in 2020, the highest ventures by the US and Somalia armies within the same period in previous exploits.
The Al-Shabaab militants, who are linked to frequent IED explosions in the country, have often taken shelter in remote villages since their imminent defeat to AMISOM troops in 2011 at the capital, Mogadishu.
US drones dismembered one of the camps believed to be used for recruitment and training at Gandarshe, killing four Al-Shabaab militants in the process, AFRICOM said.
Contrary to the previous allegations that such strikes contribute to heavy civilian casualties, the US insisted that “We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike”.
Interestingly, the raid coincided with reports that the senior Al-Shabaab militant killed in a similar raid at Saakow had been identified by authorities.
According to Somalia administration, the victim of Feb. 22 airstrike was one Bashir Qorgab, an Al-Shabaab operative linked to the Manda Airfield attack which left three Americans dead in Kenya.
Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command, condemned Al-Shabaab for targeting “innocent” civilians in their raids and insisted that Washington will continue helping Somalia to neutralize them.
“As al-Shabaab seeks to terrorize the citizens of Somalia, we remain committed in our efforts to assist the Federal Government of Somalia,” he said.
In Somalia, the U.S. works closely with our international partners on security sector development efforts, which include the United Nations, European Union, African Union, AMISOM and other troop-contributing countries.
By December next year, AMISOM is expected to completely withdraw and handover security arrangements to SNA, thus the concerted effort to build a strong force in Somalia.
“Al Shabaab is a common enemy. These airstrikes continue to degrade al-Shabaab and support international efforts to bring enhanced security and stability to the region,” the army general added.
The raid comes barely a fortnight after Al-Shabaab militants ran over El-Salini military base, killing over 20 SNA troops. The raid was the most recent sophisticated attack in as many months of security forces, officials said.
In recent months, the SNA troops have been receiving training from allied forces in preparation to take over. America has over 500 troops in Somalia responsible for the training of Danab forces.
AFRICOM insisted that “we remain committed to Somali-led progress on improving conditions for a well-trained SNA that can assume and sustain security within the country”.
The elimination of the four terrorists came hours after SNA and AMISOM troops had repulsed yet another attack at El-Gelle area, in which mortars were exchanged by both sides, officials said.
But despite persistent military raids, AFRICOM said, the stability in Somalia cannot be achieved through the military means alone, revealing an elaborate economic plan to help the country in a statement on Saturday.
“The partner and allied forces we work with on a daily basis are trying to create security conditions to enhance governance and economic development,” said the US.
Currently, there are close to 6,000 Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia, but they have been greatly degraded, forcing them to hide in remote villages.
However, a number of them are returning to urban centers due to increased raids in their hamlets, due to limited airstrikes in towns, the UN noted in a recent report that was published at the UNSC.