Somalia: US, Somali forces raid on Jilib kills 81 militants

Elias Hubbard
November 12, 2017

The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) said the first military strikes occurred in the Bay Region of Somalia, about 160 km west of the capital of Mogadishu.

The U.S. military conducted an airstrike against al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab in southwest Somalia on Thursday, according to U.S. Africa Command, "killing several militants".

It wasn't the first time the USA targeted militants there.

"Somali Security forces conducted special operation in Jilib district and destroyed Al-Shabaab camp where terrorists were regrouping to launch attacks at Gedo region area - 81 of militants were killed, number of vehicles & heavy weapons destroyed", Somalian Information Minister Abdurahman Omar Osman posted on Twitter.

The latest strikes took place hours after Somali and US special forces conducted a drone strike in Lower Shabelle region on Friday evening. Previously, the US military had only been able to launch airstrikes against al-Shabab fighters in self-defense situations when African Union or Somali government troops accompanied by American advisers were under attack. After years of interim authority, an internationally backed federal government was installed in 2012.

The latest operation comes after Somalia and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces on Monday launched a massive security operation to flush out Al-Shabaab militants in Middle Shabelle region in southern region.

Although the group lost control of most cities and towns, al Shabab continues to dominate in many rural areas of southern Somalia and is reportedly becoming increasingly present in the northern region. The group's spokesman told the radio station that no fighters had been killed. Al-Shabaab is thought to be behind Somalia's worst-ever attack - the deadly truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed over 350 people and injured hundreds more last month.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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