The United States Africa Command has claimed that its airstrikes have killed six members of the al-Shabab militant group in southern Somalia.
A statement from the command on Wednesday said the people were killed in three airstrikes carried out earlier in the morning in an area about 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu.
However, it did not elaborate on the location of the strikes and the identity of the militants.
Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for the US Africa Command, only said the military assessment showed there were no civilians near the site of the attacks. Authorities said the airstrikes were coordinated with Somalia’s central government.
There have been many ambiguities surrounding US drone strikes and bombardments in the rural regions of Somalia, a war-torn country still reeling from more than two decades of militancy.
The US military has expanded its operations against al-Shabab following a decree by President Donald Trump. Local sources say the intensified drive has inflicted casualties among civilians. It was announced last week that four members of al-Shabab were killed in drone strikes, although no details were provided on the identity of the militants. US and Somali officials have also claimed in recent weeks that several al-Shabab leaders responsible for planning and executing deadly attacks in Mogadishu had been killed in joint operations.
Al-Shabab, Africa’s most-feared militant group which has links to al-Qaeda, still controls large parts of land in southern Somalia. The group has a history of fighting Somalia’s government since the 1990s. Although militants have been purged from major urban centers by a multinational African Union force and Somali forces, they continue to launch high-profile bomb attacks on hotels and military checkpoints in Mogadishu and other areas. Kenya, a major contributor to the regional military drive against militants in neighboring Somalia, has also suffered from sporadic attacks by al-Shabab.
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