US strike kills 5 al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia

Published: February 16, 2023

A US strike in Somalia killed five al-Shabaab fighters on Wednesday, US Africa Command said in a statement. The strike was carried out at the request of the Somali government and was a “collective self-defense strike,” according to AFRICOM.

The strike was carried out approximately 300 miles north of the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

No civilians were injured or killed, AFRICOM said, citing the remote location of the operation.

The latest strike marks the second time in a week that the US has targeted al-Shabaab forces in Somalia. On Friday, the US carried out a strike that killed 12 al-Shabaab fighters northeast of Mogadishu.

Since the beginning of the year, the US has conducted a total of five strikes aimed at al-Shabaab, according to AFRICOM, an indication of the increased partnership between the US and Somali government and Somali forces targeting the terrorist group. AFRICOM considers al-Shabaab the largest and most deadly al Qaeda network in the world with a demonstrated will to carry out attacks against Somalia, the US and others.

In late January, the US also carried out a counterterrorism operation in Somalia that killed Bilal al-Sudani, an ISIS leader responsible for spreading ISIS ideology in Africa.

The US has provided ongoing support to the Somali government since President Joe Biden approved a Pentagon request last year to redeploy US troops to the area in an attempt to counter al-Shabaab. The approval to send fewer than 500 troops was a reversal of former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all US troops from the country in 2020.