February 24, 2019
Al-Shabab fighters stand in formation with their weapons during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia on Feb. 17, 2011. Mohamed Sheikh Nor / AP, file
By The Associated Press
JOHANNESBURG – The United States military says it has killed two al-Shabab extremists in four airstrikes in Somalia.
The attacks eliminated checkpoints and facilities used by al-Shabaab to collect taxes to fund their violent campaign in Somalia, said a statement Sunday from the U.S. Africa command.
“In addition to creating enhanced security, airstrikes help to disrupt al-Shabaab operations and the network while preventing future attacks by this terrorist group,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations.
According to the statement, two airstrikes on Saturday hit the Kunyow Barrow area, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of the capital, Mogadishu. Another strike was in the Awdeegle area, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Mogadishu and a fourth was near Janaale, about 75 kilometers (46 miles) southwest of Mogadishu.
No civilians were injured or killed in the attacks, said the statement.
With these four airstrikes, the U.S. military has carried out at least 16 such airstrikes this year in Somalia against al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa and which is linked to al-Qaida.
The United States has dramatically stepped up airstrikes against al-Shabab since President Donald Trump took office. The U.S. carried out nearly 50 strikes in Somalia in 2018. Experts say it will take more than airstrikes to defeat the extremists, who continue to carry out deadly attacks in the Horn of Africa nation and neighboring Kenya.