The US Africa Command says the attack in the southern Lower Juba region was carried out in response to the attack on ‘partner forces’.
The US military has said it killed two fighters from the armed group al-Shabab during an airstrike in a remote part of southern Somalia over the weekend.
The attack took place on Sunday near Libikus in the Lower Juba region, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement late Monday.
The command said the raid was carried out in response to an attack on “associated forces” in the region. He did not provide further details about the reported attack.
“The command’s initial assessment is that two al-Shabab terrorists were killed in action,” AFRICOM said. “No civilians were injured or killed given the remote nature of the location where this confrontation occurred.”
The United States has routinely carried out airstrikes in Somalia to try to defeat al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate that has been fighting for years to topple the country’s Western-backed government and establish its own government based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law. .
But human rights activists and critics have accused Washington of hiding its operations in Somalia in secrecy, which could undermine accountability for incidents involving civilian deaths.
In its statement, AFRICOM said its forces and the Somali government “take great measures to prevent civilian casualties.”
“These efforts contrast with the indiscriminate attacks that al-Shabab regularly carries out against the civilian population,” AFRICOM said. “Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabab present long-term threats to Somali, regional and US interests.”
US troop presence
In May, US President Joe Biden ordered the redeployment of troops to Somalia to help local authorities combat al-Shabab, reversing his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw most forces that Washington had deployed in the country.
The announcement followed the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the new president of the Horn of Africa nation. Mohamud said during a visit to Turkey earlier this month that his government would negotiate with the group only when the time is right.
Al-Shabab remains a potent threat in Somalia despite Washington’s campaign and a long-running African Union operation to reduce it.
The group was expelled from the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011, but still controls a number of major routes leading to it and some neighboring areas, as well as parts of the countryside. It regularly launches attacks against civilian, government, and military targets.
On Sunday, a car bomb outside a popular hotel in central Somalia claimed by al-Shabab killed at least five people.
At least 14 other people were injured in the blast, which destroyed the hotel and adjacent buildings in the southern city of Jowhar, located about 90 kilometers (56 miles) northwest of Mogadishu.