US airstrike kills militant, destroys Al-Shabaab base in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - With just a few days to the full withdrawal from Somalia, the US Africa Command launched yet another airstrike in the Horn of Africa nation, targeting the Al-Shabaab militants who have been wreaking havoc in the country for the past decade.
In a statement issued by the command, the team, which worked in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, the operation took place at Buulo Fulaay in the Bay region, south of Somalia.
The airstrike was conducted on Wednesday, and it's the fourth this year, which marks perhaps the end of direct drone strikes in the country. Pentagon and the Department of Defense ordered the withdrawal of the troops by January 15, five days before President-Elect Joe Biden takes over.
Initial assessments indicate the strike killed one al-Shabaab personnel and destroyed one compound, the command noted, adding that: "initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this operation."
“This strike in Buulo Fulaay combined with recent strikes, shows our resolve and degrades al-Shabaab’s ability to threaten Somalia and its neighbors,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force - Quartz commander. “Side by side with our partners, we plan to leave no safe place for al-Shabaab to hide.”
Joint Task Force - Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to the U.S. and regional interests added the Command.
The US had close to 700 servicemen in Somalia who have been training and equipping the Somali National Army [SNA]. The exit plan was opposed by the government of Somalia and a number of stakeholders including those in opposition, who insisted that the withdrawal could erode gains made in the Al-Shabaab war.