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US airstrike on al-Shabaab in Somalia kills 10 militants, Africom says

U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Somalia on May 23, killing 10 militants associated with al-Shabaab, the Somali-led affiliate of al-Qaeda, U.S. Africa Command said.

According to U.S. Africa Command, no civilians were killed in the event. The action was in conjunction with the Federal Government of Somalia, the internationally recognized government that still controls only a small part of that country’s territory.

The strike occurred approximately 15 miles southwest of Mogadishu, AFRICOM’s Thursday statement said.

“U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect U.S. citizens and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.”

The U.N. Security Council reauthorized the African Union Mission in Somalia on May 15. It was first launched in 2007 to defend the internationally-backed government against al-Shabaab, and more than 22,000 personnel are deployed on the mission. AFRICOM works with AMISOM on both advise-and-assist missions as well as air support missions to target al-Shabaab’s forces, but has drawn controversy from strikes that have killed civilians.

On May 11, AFRICOM launched a review on a raid after locals near Bulcida claimed civilians had been shot dead in an operation involving two military helicopters and special forces.

Prior to that, an AFRICOM airstrike took out a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device near Jana Cabdalle, although in a statement AFRICOM said no terrorists or civilians were killed in the process.
The strikes are the latest in an increasing number of U.S. airstrikes against al-Shabaab and Abnaa ul-Calipha, Islamic State’s affiliate in Somalia, in recent months.

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