Senior al Shabaab leader killed in US air strike


The United States killed a high-ranking leader of al Shabaab during an air strike in Somalia last week.

The US military’s Africa Command (Africom) on 7 April said Yusuf Jiis was killed on 2 April. He was one of the foundational members of the group and held many significant positions that facilitated al-Shabaab’s violent and harmful activities throughout East Africa, the Command said.

“This individual was a key leader in the al-Shabaab organization,” said US Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, US Africa Command. “He was violent, ruthless, and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives. His removal makes Somalia and neighbouring countries safer.”

“As previously released, US Africa Command conducted this precision airstrike in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia. The airstrike occurred in the vicinity of Bush Madina, Somalia, which is located in the Bay Region, approximately 135 miles west of Mogadishu.

“While the airstrike eliminated the ability of this brutal member of al-Shabaab from causing additional harm, continued efforts are required to create sustained security and stability in Somalia,” Africom said.

“Al-Shabaab remains a disease in Somalia and is an indiscriminate killer of innocent people and their only desire is to brutalize populations inside Somalia and outside of Somalia,” said US Army Major General William Gayler, director of operations, US Africa Command. “Putting pressure on this network helps contain their ambition and desire to cause harm and destruction.”

“With Africom’s support, Amisom and the Somali National Army have made gains in al-Shabaab strongholds in southern Somalia, holding territory and establishing outposts. US-trained SNA forces, along with combined counterterrorism efforts, continue to support observed momentum and promote greater opportunity despite the ongoing COVID-19 dynamic,” Africom said.

“While we might like to pause our operations in Somalia because of the Coronavirus, the leaders of al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS have announced that they see this crisis as an opportunity to further their terrorist agenda so we will continue to stand with and support our African partners,” Townsend said.