At Least 20 Al-Shabab Militants Killed in Airstrike, Say Somali Officials

“Somali military forces, supported by international partners, conducted the airstrike in the town of Galhareri, targeting sites the militants used to manufacture improvised firearms, bombs and other explosives,” Galmudug Regional Security Minister Mohamed Aden Gaboobe told VOA Somali. Galhareri is some 450 kilometers (280 miles) north of Mogadishu.

Gaboobe said the airstrike conducted late Wednesday also targeted Radio Andalus, al-Shabab’s mouthpiece in Somalia.

A separate statement from the Somali National Army said more than 25 militants were killed in the strike, which destroyed a house where leaders of the group were meeting and a garage that was used to prepare car bombs.

Neither the military statement nor regional officials provided details on the international partners whose drones were involved the strike, but the U.S. Africa Command has often conducted such strikes in Somalia at the request of Somalia’s federal government.

Last week, a U.S. airstrike killed three al-Shabab extremists in a remote area of Somalia, approximately 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Kismayo.

“At the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted a collective self-defense airstrike with two engagements against the al-Shabab terrorist group on Jan. 21,” said a statement from U.S. Africa Command Thursday. “The initial assessment is that the U.S. airstrike killed three al-Shabab terrorists and that no civilians were injured or killed.”

In the past, Somali security officials said the United States is not the only country providing air support to government forces.

Security officials who requested that they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the operation told VOA Somali that Turkish drones were also providing air support to Somali forces.

Somali government forces supported by local clan fighters have been conducting operations in the Hirshabelle and Galmudug states since August 2022, freeing dozens of localities from al-Shabab.

Attending the inauguration ceremony for a Somali regional president Thursday, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud repeated his government’s promise of a second phase of the offensive that will go after al-Shabab in southern Somalia, the group’s traditional heartland, but he did not say when that would begin.

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