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US Strike Targets Al-Shabab in Somalia


The U.S. military has conducted a strike against al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia, officials tell VOA.

"We are currently assessing the results of the operation, and will provide additional information as appropriate," U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) spokesman Chuck Prichard said Monday.

Local sources said the strike on Sunday targeted vehicles in Kunya Barrow, in the lower Shabelle region. Sources also said the strike was conducted against a high-ranking al-Shabab militant, without going into further detail.

After the strike, U.S. AFRICOM said its forces "remain committed to supporting the federal government of Somalia, the Somali National Army and our AMISOM partners in defeating al-Shabab and establishing a safe and secure environment in Somalia."

AMISOM soldiers and armored vehicles pass a woman riding a cart during a patrol at a village outside Mogadishu, Sept. 19, 2016. (Photo: J. Patinkin/VOA)
AMISOM soldiers and armored vehicles pass a woman riding a cart during a patrol at a village outside Mogadishu, Sept. 19, 2016. (Photo: J. Patinkin/VOA)

The strike comes about two months after a Navy SEAL was killed during an operation against al-Shabab militants in Somalia, the first U.S. service member killed in the war-torn country since the battle in 1993 that inspired the movie "Black Hawk Down."

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken was killed on May 5 by small arms fire near Barii, Somalia, approximately 65 kilometers west of Mogadishu, during an advise-and-assist mission alongside members of the Somali National Army.

"This was a Somali mission," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters. "We were operating in support of them."

Davis said the mission targeted a compound that had been associated with attacks on a nearby facilities used by the U.S. and Somali military.

"We helped bring them in with our aircraft, and we were there maintaining a distance back as they conducted the operation. That’s when our forces came under fire," Davis said.

Eight al-Shabab militants were killed in that operation, an official told VOA's Somali service, adding that the soldiers had likely seized radio station equipment.

VOA's Harun Maruf contributed to this report.

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.

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