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Al-Shabab Camp 'Destroyed' After Airstrike

  • VOA News

The African Union force in Somalia has attacked an al-Shabab training camp as part of ongoing efforts to weaken the militant group.

An official with the AU force told VOA Somali Service Thursday that the militant camp is located in southern Somalia's Dinsoor region.

The Kenyan Defense Ministry says its forces within the AU mission conducted the attack, which it described as an airstrike that "completely destroyed" the training camp.

It says more than 300 al-Shabab recruits were at the camp at the time of the attack and that many of them are believed to have been killed.

The ministry says some of the al-Shabab fighters who attacked a Nairobi shopping mall last month had received their training at this camp.

That assault at the Westgate shopping center left at least 67 people dead, not including the attackers.

On Monday, a suspected U.S. drone strike in another southern Somali town, Jilib, killed a key al-Shabab operative. Witnesses said the operative was Ibrahim Ali Abdi, mastermind of the militant group's suicide missions.

The U.S. and its allies have been trying to maintain pressure on al-Shabab in the wake of the Nairobi attack.

The AU force says it has resumed armed operations against al-Shabab "safe havens" in Somalia's southern Juba and Bay regions. In a Thursday statement, AMISOM said it is targeting the group's camps and its senior commanders.

Al-Shabab has been fighting to turn Somalia into a strict Islamist state. The group claimed responsibility for the Westgate mall attack, saying it was retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia.

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