The U.S. military said it had carried out its deadliest air strike in Somalia in months, killing 52 al-Shabaab ‘extremists’ after they mounted an attack on Somali forces.
The USA Africa Command said the air strike occurred near Jilib in the Middle Juba region. There were no reports of Americans killed or wounded.
The U.S. statement did not say whether any Somali forces were killed or wounded by the al-Qaida-linked extremists.
Shahada news agency reported that the al-Shabaab attack on two Somali army bases killed at least 41 US-backed soldiers. It described the location as the Bar Sanjuni area near the port city of Kismayo.
Ethiopia contributes troops to a multinational African Union ‘peacekeeping’ mission in Somalia and has troops there independently under Ethiopian army command.
A Somali intelligence officer said al-Shabab had been amassing fighters for more than a week to launch a major attack against Somali and Kenyan forces in order to disrupt a planned offensive against the freedom independence movement.
Al-Shabab controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile suicide bombings and other attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere.
The US military has dramatically stepped up its violence and war crimes against al-Shabab in Somalia since President Donald Trump took office, carrying out at least 47 such strikes last year. Some have targeted top al-Shabab leaders or key financial officials.
The USA said it is committed to “preventing al-Shabab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the foreign occupation forces.
France 24 / ABC Flash Point News 2019.