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US airstrike in Somalia kills several al-Shabab militants

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced that it conducted a collective self-defense strike in Somalia on January 23, 2023, at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and in support of Somali National Army engagements against the terrorist group al-Shabaab. 

The strike occurred in a remote area near Haradheere, approximately 396 km northeast of Mogadishu, where Somali forces were engaged in operations. 

According to the AFRICOM statement, the initial assessment indicates that the strike killed two al-Shabaab terrorists, and no civilians were injured or killed. 

This is the second strike by AFRICOM in the past three days.

On January 20, AFRICOM also conducted a collective self-defense strike near Galcad, approximately 260 km northeast of Mogadishu. The strike was in support of Somali National Army engagements against al-Shabaab, which had launched a complex, extended, and intense attack on Somali forces. 

The AFRICOM statement said that the combined actions of partner forces on the ground and the collective self-defense strike destroyed three vehicles and the killing of approximately thirty al-Shabaab terrorists. The command assessed that no civilians were injured or killed in the operation.

The U.S. supports the Federal Government of Somalia’s ongoing campaign to disrupt, degrade and defeat terrorist groups, including al-Shabaab. AFRICOM’s role in this campaign is part of a broader U.S. whole-of-government approach with African partners, which includes diplomacy, development, and defense. 

This three-pronged approach aims to increase cooperation and support for “partner-led, U.S.-enabled” solutions to shared security challenges, such as violent extremism and terrorism. AFRICOM emphasized that all kinetic operations are conducted and supported in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia.

AFRICOM noted that Somalia remains central to stability and security in all of East Africa and that its forces will continue to train, advise, and equip partner forces to help them defeat al-Shabaab, the largest and most deadly al-Qaeda network in the world.  

AFRICOM also said it would continue to assess the results of the operation and provide additional information as appropriate. Specific details about the units and assets used will not be released to ensure operations security.

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