US airstrike kills 30 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia

US airstrike kills 30 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia

Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States killed at least 30 al-Shabaab (al-Shabab) Islamists in Somalia – after intense fighting broke out between al-Shabaab and the armed forces of Somalia. This follows recent airstrikes in the middle of December that targeted al-Shabaab in the Hirshabelle region.

It seems that the armed forces of Somalia and loyal militias are intent on taking the initiative against al-Shabaab Islamists in several parts of the country. Also, America is behind the upgrade of the armed forces of Somalia – and works in unison when severe conditions are encountered by the armed forces.

The United States African Command reports, “The strike occurred approximately 260 km northeast of Mogadishu near Galcad, Somalia where Somalia National Army forces were engaged in heavy fighting following a complex, extended, intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters.”

Voice of America reports, “Al-Shabab fighters had stormed a Somali military base in Galcad Friday and killed at least seven soldiers, according to the Somali government and the militant group. The fighters exploded car bombs and fired weapons but were eventually repelled.”

However, similar to al-Shabaab incursions into Ethiopia last year, it highlights the tenacity of this Islamist group.

According to the government of Somalia, the armed forces recently retook the port town of Harardhere. If this port town can be held, it will hinder the al-Shabaab because they utilize Harardhere to supply weapons and goods.

The United States African Command further stated, “The U.S. is one of several countries providing support to the Federal Government of Somalia in its ongoing campaign to disrupt, degrade and defeat terrorist groups. Rooting out extremism ultimately requires intervention beyond traditional military means, leveraging U.S. and partner efforts to support effective governance, promote stabilization and economic development, and resolve ongoing conflicts.”

The BBC reports, “Al-Shabab has been fighting Somalia’s central government since 2006, aiming to impose an extremist Islamist regime. While it has been pushed out of Mogadishu and other areas it continues to attack military and civilian targets.”

Mogadishu is bracing itself for counterattacks by al-Shabaab. Also, if al-Shabaab feels threatened, this Islamist group is apt at melting away – and returning when conditions change. 

Also, if events don’t change on the ground, the Islamist al-Shabaab will utilize the American angle to attract fresh recruits. 

https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/35119/somali-us-forces-engage-insurgents-in-support-of-the-federal-government-of-somalia

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