Djibouti – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is set to meet with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Djibouti today, Sunday September 24th. This meeting came as the second phase of the war against the terrorist organization al-Shabaab is proceeding rapidly.
The Somali government receives military, training and humanitarian support from the United States in its fight against al-Shabaab. The US also assists in airstrikes against the militant group. Secretary Austin arrived in Djibouti early Sunday morning and said he would be meeting with leaders and defense officials.
Regarding an airstrike on Friday near Burdhuhunle in Gedo region, the US military denied carrying out any strikes that day, contrary to al-Shabaab claims that an AFRICOM attack killed 8 civilians. The Somali government had said the strike killed al-Shabaab commander Isaaq Abdullahi and 7 others. Neither claim has been independently verified.
President Mohamud and Secretary Austin are expected to discuss continued US support for Somalia in its conflict with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab insurgency which still controls parts of southern and central Somalia. The meeting underscores the strategic importance the US places on stability in Somalia.