12 Al-Shabaab Fighters Killed in Airstrike, US Military Says
The US military said Sunday that it killed 12 al-Shabaab fighters in a "collective self-defense" airstrike in central Somalia amid the federal government's efforts to recapture territories from the Islamist militants.
- The US military said Sunday that it killed 12 al-Shabaab fighters in a "collective self-defense" airstrike in central Somalia amid the federal government's efforts to recapture territories from the Islamist militants.
- In its statement, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) stated that the airstrike, targeting what it says is the world's largest and deadliest al-Qaeda offshoot, was carried out at the request of the Somali government.
- According to an initial AFRICOM assessment, no civilians were killed or injured in Friday's operation in the remote area about 472 km (293 mi) northeast of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
- This comes as Mogadishu on Friday also claimed that its army, along with regional forces, killed 117 al-Shabaab fighters, confirming a supporting airstrike by "international security partners" during the battle.
- As Washington last year redeployed hundreds of US troops to Somalia, the latest AFRICOM operation in the Horn of Africa country marks the fifth US airstrike against al-Shabaab in recent months that collectively have killed dozens of extremists.
- Meanwhile, at least nine were killed in renewed clashes between government forces and local militias in the Somaliland town of Las Anod on Saturday, following fighting that left dozens dead last week. Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991.
Sources:  VOA (a) FOX News  AllAfrica VOA (b) CNN  Reuters.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Standard. The uprising of a terror-weary population and the government's readiness to deprive al-Shabaab of its military and social breeding ground is pushing the extremists increasingly into trouble. Recent successes in the struggle against the terrorists and the population's courage must now be sustained by intensified Western stabilization efforts and bolstered military support. Otherwise, the window of opportunity could quickly close again with Somalia turning into an international security threat.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by East African. Al-Shabaab is merely a symptom, not the cause, of Somalia's malaise. The terrorist threat may eventually be overcome, but Mogadishu's political elite, supported by the international community, will continue to pursue primarily its own interests rather than those of the people. Added to this is the lack of will for structural reforms and the fragmentation of society along ethnic lines promoted during the colonial era. With or without al-Shabbab, Somalia's tragedy is likely to continue.