100 militants killed in US, Somali strikes

Both the government and Al Shabab have been known to exaggerate or minimise casualty claims

18:37 November 12, 2017

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Nearly 100 members of Al Shabab, the Al Qaida-linked insurgent group in Somalia, were killed in separate strikes this past week, according to Somali and US officials.

More than a dozen militants were killed in a US air strike 32km north of the capital of Mogadishu, according to Samantha Reho, a spokeswoman with the US Africa Command. The Friday strike was carried out in coordination with the Somali government, she said in an email.

It was the 23rd US air strike in the country this year, and the second in 24 hours. On Thursday, air strikes killed “several militants” in the Bay region, about 100 miles west of Mogadishu, according to a statement from the Africa Command.

Separately, the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency killed 81 Al Shabab fighters earlier this week in Jilib, in southern Somalia, government officials said Saturday.

The state security forces “planted mines in a militant bomb-making site in Jilib district,” Abdirahman Omar Osman, the Minister of Information, said by telephone.

Jilib is an Al Shabab stronghold about 120km north of the port city of Kismayo, where militants attacked a Somali army base in September.

Osman claimed the attack “destroyed all explosive materials” and “technical vehicles” Al Shabab had stored at the site. He declined to give further details of the attack, citing a pending investigation.

Andalus radio, the broadcast arm of Al Shabab, denied there was any attack on Jilib. The group’s spokesman told the radio station that no fighters had been killed.

Neither claim could be independently verified, and both the government and Al Shabab have been known to exaggerate or minimise casualty claims for propaganda purposes.

In October, a truck bomb at a busy intersection in Mogadishu killed 358 people; Al Shabab were blamed for the attack.

The group also claimed responsibility for a hotel attack that killed 23 people at the end of October.

On Nov. 3, US forces carried out air strikes against an Islamic State-affiliated Al Shabab splinter group, operating in the central Somali region of Puntland. It was the first US strike against Daesh in the country.