News / Africa

Sources: US Drone Strike Nearly Hits al-Shabab Leader

VOA News
Sources in Somalia say a U.S. drone strike on Sunday nearly hit the leader of militant group al-Shabab.

A militant source and sources close to the African Union mission in Somalia tells VOA Somali service that Ahmed Abdi Godane was in the vicinity of the drone attack, which took place north of Barawe, in the Lower Shabelle region.

The Pentagon on Wednesday said its analysts are still assessing the results of what a spokesman called "a coordinated operation" in southern Somalia.

The Somali militant source says Godane is alive, although it is not clear whether the al-Shabab leader was injured.

A senior aide of Godane's, Ahmed Abdulkadir - known as "Iskudhuuq - was killed along with his driver Sunday when their car was hit by a missile.

The sources in Somalia say Godane and Iskudhuuq may have had a meeting right before the attack, and that Godane was supposed to travel in the car that was targeted.

They say al-Shabab has since detained several people in Barawe on suspicion of spying.

On Monday, U.S. Defense Department spokesman Colonel Steve Warren confirmed the drone attack but offered few details.

The U.S. military has repeatedly used drone strikes to target al-Shabab leaders in Somalia.  In October, a U.S. drone hit a vehicle carrying senior members of the al-Qaida-linked group, killing its top explosives expert.

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