Somalia, US target al-Shabaab explosives makers


In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, US Africa Command conducted two airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab explosives experts in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia, on 10 December.

“We will continue to apply pressure to the al-Shabaab network. They continue to undermine Somali security, and need to be contained and degraded,” said US Army General Stephen Townsend, commander, US Africa Command.

The initial assessment indicates the strike killed eight terrorists who were known to play important roles in producing explosives for al-Shabaab, to include vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). These devices are used frequently to target innocent civilians. “We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed,” Africa Command said.

Al-Shabaab conducts dozens of VBIED attacks annually across central and southern Somalia, including against civilian, government, and US targets. Since 2018, the group has conducted an estimated 45 VBIED attacks in Mogadishu alone, collectively resulting in the death of over 400 civilians, security forces and government officials.

“This strike should demonstrate to any enemy that we stand by our partners and will vigorously defend both ourselves and our partners during this repositioning and future operations,” said Major General Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force – Quartz commander. “We will continue to maintain strong force protection and strike those who seek to harm us or our partners.”

“US Africa Command and its international partners recognize the importance of stability in Somalia. While peace and stability require strong governance and providing economic programmes and opportunity for the Somali people, security remains foundational to each,” Africa Command said.

“Al-Shabaab remains a dangerous franchise of al-Qaeda,” said Townsend. “We continue to monitor the threat and support our partners through training and military and diplomatic engagement. This mission illustrates our continuing commitment to eradicating this threat and supporting our Somali partners in the region. We’re repositioning, but we will maintain the ability to strike this enemy.”