America Launches Airstrike Targeting Al-Shabaab in Somalia

The US military has launched an airstrike against Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab jihadists on Tuesday, July 19, 2021. This is the first airstrike conducted by the US military in Somalia since January 19, when Africom announced it had killed three Shabaab jihadists in two strikes in Jamaame and Deb Scinnele.

The US military command for Africa (Africom), in coordination with the Somali government, “conducted one airstrike in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia today against al-Shabaab,” Pentagon spokeswoman Cindi King said.

“A battle-damage assessment is still pending due to the ongoing engagement between al-Shabaab and Somali forces, however, the command’s initial assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this strike,” she added.

The strike, 700 kilometres northeast of Mogadishu, is the first since President Joe Biden took office, the Pentagon said.

Biden was inaugurated a day after the airstrike of January 19th was launched. As soon as he arrived at the White House, he limited the use of drones against jihadist groups outside US theatres of war, reversing the policy of his predecessor Donald Trump, who had given the US military carte blanche in countries such as Somalia and Libya.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has now revealed that any planned strikes against jihadist groups outside Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq were now submitted to the White House before being carried out.

According to a report by Airwars, drone strikes multiplied during Trump’s tenure from 11 drones in Somalia in 2015, to 64 in 2019 and 54 in 2020.

Patsy Nwogu

Reporting on data-driven featured stories and investigations.

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