The United States military killed 27 al-Shabab fighters in an operation conducted near Somalia’s central Hiran region.
In a statement, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said “at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab terrorists who were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, Somalia, on Sept. 18. The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed 27 al-Shabaab terrorists and that no civilians were injured. U.S. forces are authorized to conduct strikes in defense of designated partner forces. The defensive strikes allowed the Somali National Army and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia forces to regain the initiative and continue the operation to disrupt al-Shabaab in the Hiraan region of central Somalia. This operation is the largest combined Somali and ATMIS offensive operation in five years. U.S. Africa Command take great measures to prevent civilian casualties. These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabaab regularly conducts against the civilian population.”
The strike comes as Al-Shabab has ramped up attacks against innocent civilians in recent months. Ali Abdulle, a community leader in Beledweyne, said, “Al-Shabab has burned our villages, blown up our wells and boreholes, destroyed telecommunication towers, planted IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and murdered civilians indiscriminately. So there is no option left except to face them.”