US airstrikes kill 18 al-Shabaab fighters in Southern Somalia


US military has conducted two separate aerial bombardments against al-Shabaab in areas controlled by the group for the last 48 hours, U.S. Africa Command confirmed on Friday.

In a statement, the mission said in support of Somalia’s increased efforts to degrade al-Shabaab in Southern Somalia.

AFRICOM affirmed that the first airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 6, 2019, while the US warplanes conducted an airstrike in the vicinity of Bariire, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 7, 2019.

U.S. Africa Command said it currently assesses the two airstrikes killed 18 al-Shabaab fighters.

The statement says the precision airstrikes such as these support Somali security forces efforts to protect the Somali people from terrorism while creating opportunities for increased governance to take hold.

“The Federal Government of Somalia is placing persistent pressure on al-Shabaab and its’ affiliates, working to create conditions for enhanced security and stability,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg Olson, U.S. Africa Command director of operations. “They continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to degrading al-Shabaab.”

This precision airstrike was executed after Somali partners were engaged by al-Shabaab fighters as they conducted an operation to disrupt al-Shabaab efforts to illegally tax and intimidate civilians in the area.

U.S. Africa Command vowed it will continue to work with its partners to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in Somalia from AMISOM to the Federal Government of Somalia and its Member States.

The mission said U.S. forces will use all effective and appropriate methods to protect the Somali people, including partnered military counter-terror operations with the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and the forces of Somali National Army.

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