U.S., Somali operations kill dozens of militants

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 11, 2017 at 12:59 PM
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Nov. 11 (UPI) -- A Somalian operation killed at least 81 al-Shabab militants outside Mogadishu two days after a U.S. airstrike killed "several militants," according to U.S. and Somali military officials.

The Somali government said the militants were killed in Jilib, in Middle Juba of southern Somalia, early Saturday. Jilib, which is 236 miles south of the capital Mogadishu, is a major stronghold of the al-Qaida-allied militant group.

"Somali Security forces conducted special operation in Jilib district and destroyed Al-Shabaab camp where terrorists were regrouping to launch attacks at Gedo region area -- 81 of militants were killed, number of vehicles & heavy weapons destroyed," Somalian Information Minister Abdurahman Omar Osman posted on Twitter.

Osman told Xinhua that explosive materials, such as TNT, RDX, potassium and sodium nitrate, were destroyed.

On Thursday afternoon, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in the Bay Region of Somalia, about 100 miles west of the capital, that killed "several militants," U.S. Africa Command said in a release.

"U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats," U.S. Africa Command said. "This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces; targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world."

Another U.S. airstrike Friday killed at least 13 militants in a village about 30 kilometers north of Mogadishu, Voice of America reported.

On Monday, Somali and African Union Mission in Somalia launched a massive security operation to flush out Al-Shabab militants in Middle Shabelle region in southern Somalia.

The African Union announced Tuesday it will cut 1,000 troops from Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti starting next month and another 500 by the end of thus ear.

On Nov. 3, two U.S. airstrikes targeted the Islamic State in Somalia for the first time, killing "several" militants, the U.S. military said.

It wasn't the first time the U.S. targeted militants there. A June airstrike against al-Shabab militants hit about 185 miles southwest of Mogadishu.

Since 2007, al-Shabab has attempted to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia. It was forced from the capital by African Union troops in 2011, but maintained a presence in Somalia's rural areas.

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