U.S. Africa Command Says Airstrike Kills Two Al-Shabaab Militants

Following the Al-Shabaab attack on the U.S. military base in Kenya, which has killed one U.S. soldier and its two contractors, the U.S. Africa command conducted an airstrike on militants in Somalia.

According to AFRICOM’s statement, the airstrike was executed in the Qunyo Barrow area, in coordination with the Somalian government. At the end of December, AFRICOM airstrikes targeted Al-Shabaab in the same vicinity following Al-Shabaab’s deadly attack in Mogadishu.

Al-Shabaab ended the decade with its Mogadishu car bomb attack on 28 December 2019, killing more than 90 people. The December attack is the deadliest attack in Somalia since the 2017 attack which killed 500 people in Mogadishu.

The Command and Somalian government conducted five airstrikes in two weeks following the recent Mogadishu attack.

According to reports, the Group has killed more than 4000 people in the past 10 years. Despite several airstrikes, at the beginning of this year, the Group’s violence has surged in Somalia and Kenya.

The Group’s attacks this week killed three teachers in Kenya and four civilians and four soldiers in Somalia.

The attack on U.S. military installation in Kenya was the second since last year’s attack on U.S. military installation in September.

Observers are debating whether the surge of violence signals renewed strength by the terror group or is a seasonal phenomenon, as the Group’s attack records show increased violence in January, VOA reported.

Matt Bryden, an analyst at SAHAN research told AFP that the attack on the U.S. military base in Kenya is an indication of the Group’s intent to continuously strike Kenya, or it could be an indication of its determination now to strike the U.S. targets.

AFRICOM vowed to continue its counter-terrorism efforts in collaboration with the government of Somalia, while Kenyan officials urged the security forces to increase their fight against terrorism.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta urged the security forces not to relent in the fight against terrorism, in his speech at the Annual National Security Review and Planning Conference, in Mombasa, Kenya.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of the Kenya Police Service, Hillary Mutyambai, urged the security forces  to “change their tact in the fight against the enemy,” and to “embrace community policing [in order to have a] flow of information from members of [the] public on suspected criminals.”

Yeshihareg Abebe