US airstrikes target al-Shabaab in Somalia

US airstrikes target al-Shabaab in Somalia

Kanako Mita and Michiyo Tanabe

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States launched two new airstrikes against al-Shabaab (al-Shabab) Islamists in Somalia. This happened in the Hirshabelle region.

Military attacks are ongoing in Somalia concerning government forces, loyal militias, and sometimes backed by airstrikes from America and other forms of support.

Voice of America reports, “In a statement, the U.S. military in Africa says it conducted two “collective self-defense” strikes against the group on December 14 and 17 in the vicinity of the coastal town of Adale.”

Videos from Somalia highlight massacres on all sides. Ahmed Abdulle, a Hiran elder, told Reuters, “Al-Shabab is not strong, it just burns people, beheads people, and puts their heads in the streets to terrorize… Now, we are doing the same: we have ordered the beheading of al-Shabab fighters.”

United States airstrikes against al-Shabaab appear to have backed up government forces. It is known that the armed forces of Somalia launched attacks against al-Shabaab in the environs of the villages of Gulane and Juhay in the Hirshabelle region.

The Council on Foreign Relations reports, “Washington’s primary interest in Somalia has been preventing the country from becoming a refuge for terrorist groups to plot attacks on the United States and destabilize the Horn of Africa, where long-standing disputes among Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia have festered. In recent years, U.S. officials have been wary of collaboration among militant Islamist organizations in the broader region, including al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Lee Jay Walker says, “The latest airstrikes by America and the strengthening of the armed forces of Somalia – along with local militias – entails that the conflict against al-Shabaab insurgents is increasing in intensity. However, in the past, al-Shabaab could move into the shadows when needed.”

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