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U.S Air Strike Kills 27 al Shabaab militants In Somalia



U.S Air Strike Kills 27 al Shabaab militants In Somalia

The U.S. military said on Wednesday it had killed 27 fighters from the al Shabaab militant group in an air strike in Somalia’s central Hiran region.

The Army and other allied forces launched a large-scale offensive against the insurgents in last month.

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The U.S. military has been carrying out air strikes against al Shabaab, a terrorist group with allegiance to al Qaeda, in Somalia for years.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) website lists six strikes by the United States in Somalia this year, including three since Sunday’s attack.

According to the residents of the Hiran region, al Shabaab’s torching of houses, destruction of wells and killing of civilians, combined with demands for taxes amidst the worst drought in 40 years, has pushed locals to form paramilitary groups to fight alongside the government.

In a statement, AFRICOM said the militants, who are seeking to overthrow the Western-backed central government and implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law, were killed while attacking federal forces near Buulobarde, a town around 200 km (125 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.

“The defensive strikes allowed the Somali National Army and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) forces to regain the initiative and continue the operation to disrupt al Shabaab in the Hiraan region of central Somalia,” AFRICOM said.

“This operation is the largest combined Somali and ATMIS offensive operation in five years.”

Neither the Somalia government officials nor ATMIS responded to requests for comment.

Al Shabaab has captured more territory in recent weeks, according to the elder, who is a government official.

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He said the group had seized 10 villages after the Ethiopian military withdrawal in November.

Meanwhile, ATMIS has not publicly acknowledged any role in the operation.

Activists have criticized the United States for shrouding its Somalia operations in secrecy, potentially undermining accountability for incidents involving civilian deaths.

Somalia has been in civil war since 1991 when clan-based warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.

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