3 Killed In US Drone Strike In Somalia

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US military officials in Africa have claimed that a drone strike has killed three militants of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in eastern Somalia.

A statement issued by the US Africa Command on Wednesday said the airstrike had been carried out Tuesday morning local time about 75 kilometers (45 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu in the Bay region.

“We assess no civilians were anywhere near the site,” said Lieutenant Commander Anthony Falvo, a spokesman of the command, without elaborating on the identity of the suspected militants.

US drones are quite notorious across the world for inflicting casualties on civilians in areas they operate against suspected enemies. Such attacks in Somalia increased after US President Donald Trump allowed expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes in southern Somalia, where the group has more presence. That has sparked an increase in counterattacks by al-Shabab on civilians and security forces.

Falvo said the drone attack was carried out in an area where al-Shabab members were operating “in close proximity to” Somali army forces and African Union troops. He said the militants were considered as a “credible threat,” without elaborating on details of the surveillance mission that preceded the airstrike.

Somalia has been suffering from more than two decades of militancy. Al-Shabab, the main militant group in the country, has responded to the deployment of a 22,000-strong multinational African Union force, known as AMISOM, by launching deadly attacks in neighboring countries such as Kenya, further complicating the security situation in the region. The US military is allegedly supporting the fragile central government in Somalia to prepare it to take over security before AMISOM leaves the country, which is expected to happen in 2020.

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