By Hassan Isilow
At least 10 al-Shabaab militants were killed over the past three days in a series of air strikes in Somalia aimed at weakening the terrorist group, the U.S military said in a statement on Tuesday.
The first airstrike was conducted on Saturday in the Lower Shabelle Region, killing six militants and destroying one vehicle.
“This airstrike was conducted to diminish al-Shabaab’s freedom of movement and to increase pressure on the terrorist network in the area,” the statement said.
The second airstrikes took place on Monday targeting al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Baqdaad, killing at least 4 militants, it added.
The statement said the two airstrikes carried out on Monday were in self-defense of Somali partner after they were reportedly engaged by al-Shabaab militants.
“At this time we assess no civilians were injured or killed in these airstrikes,” it said.
The U.S. military said it conducts operations jointly with its Somali partners and are committed to preventing al-Shabaab from taking advantage of safe havens from which they can build capacity and attack the people of Somalia.
“We remain fully committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia, its forces, and its partners in the fight against al-Shabaab,” said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Gregg P. Olson, director of operations of the U.S. Africa Command.
Al-Shabaab fighters have been pushed from urban centers and are currently using rural areas in the southern and central parts of Somalia to plot and direct attacks.
The U.S. army further said it will continue to work with its partners in Somalia to transfer the responsibility for long-term security in the country from the African Union peacekeepers to the Federal government of Somalia.
Al-Shabaab, which has been battling to overthrow the Somali government for over a decade now, has conducted a series of bomb attacks killing hundreds in Somalia and neighboring countries.