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US Says 2 Al-Shabab Militants Killed in Airstrike

The U.S. Africa Command says two al-Shabab militants have been killed and another injured in an airstrike in southern Somalia.

AFRICOM says the airstrike occurred Monday in the vicinity of the town of Jilib, in the Middle Jubba region.

It marked the fourth airstrike in Somalia by the U.S. forces so far this year. Previous strikes against al-Shabab took place January 2 and 18 as well as February 19.

Meanwhile, 10 al-Shabab militants escaped from a rehabilitation center in the town of Garowe on Sunday night, security officials have told VOA Somali.

The escape occurred at around 8 p.m. local time, when the militants managed to scale a wall and slip into the darkness, the sources said.

Puntland region officials refused to speak to the media about the escape, but sources told VOA Somali that the region’s leader, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas, has ordered an investigation.

One of the militants was caught on Monday while three others were apprehended on Tuesday. The six on the run include Tahlil Hussein Ali, who is believed to be the escapees' leader.

“Officials believe these men are in the countryside still running from security forces,” said an intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The men were al-Shabab fighters captured during gun battles between Puntland forces and the militants in March 2016 after al-Shabab launched an ill-fated seaborne raid on coastal towns.

They were placed at the rehabilitation center in an effort to reintegrate them into Somali society. The project was funded by an international aid organization, according to documents seen by VOA Somali.

Security sources tell VOA that the escape is suspicious, as the men did not break any doors prior to getting out. Guards at the center are being questioned.

In November, some inmates at the center physically attacked the guards in an attempt to escape but that effort failed, officials said.