News / Africa

    US: Airstrike Kills 150 Al-Shabab in Somalia

    FILE - An unmanned U.S. Predator drone is seen in a June 13, 2010, photo.
    FILE - An unmanned U.S. Predator drone is seen in a June 13, 2010, photo.

    The Pentagon says a U.S. airstrike in central Somalia has killed more than 150 Al-Shabab militants who were preparing for a large-scale attack.

    Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters Monday that the weekend attack targeted an Al-Shabab training camp about 195 kilometers north of the capital, Mogadishu.  He said both manned and unmanned aircraft were used in the strike.

    Davis said the U.S. had learned the fighters were set to depart the camp, and "posed an imminent threat" to U.S. and African Union forces in Somalia.  

    "Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated" in the attack, said Davis.

    Captain Davis says the United States watched the camp for several weeks and noticed the fighters were training for a large-scale attack.

     "And they were nearing the completion of that training, and we took action to ensure that they could not put that training to use," he said.

    The Somali army commander in the region, Colonel Mohamed Omar, gave a death toll of 69 militants killed and 42 wounded, citing reports by local residents.  Omar added he expects the casualty total to rise.

    Eyewitness accounts

    Witnesses tell VOA's Somali Service that the airstrike hit Al-Shabab's Raso training camp between the villages of Dharyiow and El-Dibi in the central Hiran region.  The witnesses say the aircraft made two passes over the camp, firing three missiles each time.

    According to local villagers, Al-Shabab commanders were at the camp to oversee the graduation of hundreds of trainees when the airstrikes occurred.  There was no immediate word on whether any top Al-Shabab leaders were among those killed.

    Under surveillance

    Somali military officials believe the recruits were being prepared for attacks in Hiran and in Somalia's Middle Shabelle region.  

    The U.S. has a small number of advisers in Somalia assisting the African Union force AMISOM, which is fighting Al-Shabab.   The Islamist militant group has been fighting to overthrow the Somali government since 2007.  

    The U.S. has launched numerous airstrikes against the group, including one that killed the group's longtime leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, in September 2014.

    VOA Pentagon Correspondent Carla Babb and VOA Somali Service Senior Editor Harun Maruf contributed to this report


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    Comment Sorting
    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 07, 2016 6:02 PM
    Picture it? .. It became a live-fire training exercise after an uninvited guest sent a killer-drone to crash and ruin the al-Shabab terrorists graduation party? .. Do they all still become martyrs and get 72 virgins? .. will mighty Allah still recognize them? .. or will they return as a donkey?

    by: rocket1 from: CT.
    March 07, 2016 5:15 PM
    Congratulations Mr. President and the men and women of the armed forces. Outstanding!!!!!
    In Response

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Xamar-Weyne, Somalia
    March 09, 2016 1:20 AM
    I don't see anything to congratulate for.
    Your beloved commander-in-chief opted for cosmetic war instead of serious ground fight. Just throwing drone-bombing from safe distance will never defeat these illiterate fanatic Muslim terrorists.
    It seems America lost interest of decimating all terrorists in this country.

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