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AFRICOM: US Airstrike in Somalia Kills 5 Militants

The U.S. military says an airstrike in central Somalia has killed five al-Shabab militants and destroyed a vehicle.

A statement from the U.S. Africa Command on Monday says the strike happened near the town of el-Bur in the Galmudug region. Local residents pinpointed the attack to the village of Da.

Al-Shabab said civilians were killed in the attack, including a poet, Yusuf Dhegey. Government officials said Dhegey used his poems to incite violence and help al-Shabab recruit.

The attack is the seventh airstrike conducted by the U.S. in Somalia this year which it says have killed 22 militants in total.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed seven people in Somalia’s central Hiran region on Monday, officials said. The victims died after the donkey cart they were riding was hit by the blast near the town of Bulobarde.

The mayor of Bulobarde, Abdi Dahir Gure, told VOA Somali that the cart was carrying a mother, four children, the woman’s nephew and a Qur’an teacher. “All have died on the spot. This is a very painful, to see a whole family just gone,” he said.

The father of the children, Hassan Kahiyow Ahmed, said the mother was taking the children to Bulobarde to buy clothes. “She was a princess, may Allah bless her soul,” he told VOA.

Authorities blamed the al-Shabab for planting the roadside explosive device. Gure said it was possible that al-Shabab intended the landmine for Somali and African Union troops who conduct patrols around the town from time to time.

But al-Shabab has in the past targeted donkeys and donkey carts it suspected of taking food and goods to towns besieged by the group. Al-Shabab has besieged Bulobarde since 2014.

Earlier this year, al-Shabab militants shot and killed nine donkeys they said were transporting goods to the government-controlled town of Wajid in the Bakool region.