The U.S. military command in Africa has said it conducted an airstrike in central Somalia that killed five al-Shabab militants.
In a press statement Thursday, AFRICOM said the "collective self-defense" airstrike occurred July 19 in a remote area near Hareeri Kalle, approximately 15 kilometers south of Galcad.
AFRICOM said the strike was in support of Somali National Army forces fighting al-Shabab. The strike came at the request of the federal government of Somalia, the statement added.
AFRICOM said it will continue to assess the results of Wednesday's operation and will provide additional information "as appropriate."
The Somali government has been fighting al-Shabab militants since 2006. The group was removed from major cities but continues to control vast areas in the countryside.
In August 2022, the Somali army, supported by self-mobilized local fighters, launched a military offensive that seized parts of central Somalia from the militant group.
The militants have struck back, raiding military bases and inflicting heavy losses on government forces in the south and central regions.
Meanwhile, Hussein Sheikh-Ali, the national security adviser for Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, told VOA this week the Somali government hopes to get a financial boost in December when a fundraising conference will be held in New York for the Somali army.
Ali said six countries — the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — as well as the European Union will co-sponsor with Somalia an international donor conference for the Somali security sector.
"We are expecting something that would take Somalia up to 2027 when Somalia believes we can take over to fund our security forces completely," Ali said.
The Somali government is aided by an African Union force and independently operating Ethiopian forces that are also fighting al-Shabab.
The United States, Turkey, Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates are among the nations training the Somali National Army.