Somalia: The U.S. military on Tuesday announced its deadliest airstrike against the al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia in nearly a year, killing about 60 fighters.
The U.S. Africa Command said the airstrike occurred near the community of Harardere in Mudug province in the central Somalia. No civilians were injured or killed, the statement said.
ITCT Newsdesk talked to Jasmine Opperman, Associate at ITCT Africa Desk, about the reports of the new airstrike in Somalia. She says, “The US is set on continued airstrikes against al-Shabaab with this attack being the deadliest for 2018. During 2018 there have been about 29 airstrikes. This airstrike follows the 15 October 2018, “anniversary” of al-Shabab’s deadliest attack, a truck bombing in Mogadishu that killed more than 600 people, though the group denied involvement in the attack. al-Shabaab remains consistent in releasing claims to credit for attacks, targeting Government officials and Amisom, propagating a group undistributed in gaining control over areas (be it for short period of times) and securing a continued insurgency. The US State Department on Terrorism referred to the sustained threat of al-Shabaab to Somalia and the region as well as recognizing the need for partnership in countering al-Shabaab due to local shortcomings. That the airstrike will have an impact on al-Shabaab cannot be denied, but that it will deter the group’s far reaching presence in Somalia, and Kenya, coupled with asymmetric tactics is highly unlikely. It will take much more than airstrikes to counter al-Shabaab, relying on a complex cobweb of strategies and tactics. For as long as local limitations remain unchanged, al-Shabaab is functioning within an ideal environment to continue announcing itself via forced recruitment, VBIED attacks, armed assaults IEDs and shadow government structures.”