A US military “self-defense strike” in Somalia on Tuesday killed seven al-Shabaab fighters, US Africa Command said in a statement.
AFRICOM revealed the attack on Wednesday and said it came at the request of the Somali government and “in support of Somali National Army engagements against al-Shabaab.”
The action was described by AFRICOM as a “collective self-defense strike” that took place about 320 miles northeast of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, in a remote location near Galmudug.
“The initial assessment is the strike killed 7 al-Shabaab fighters,” AFRICOM said in a statement, adding that given the remote location of the strike, it assesses that no civilians were injured or killed.
US strikes against al-Shabaab carried out earlier this month in Somalia killed 17 militants, according to US Africa Command. In total, US forces have conducted six strikes against al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia so far this year.
In January, the US also carried out a counterterrorism operation in Somalia that killed ISIS leader Bilal al-Sudani.
The US military considers al-Shabaab to be the “largest and most kinetically active al Qaeda network in the world.”
Al-Shabaab is the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts, which controlled the southern part of the country in late 2006, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. While the council was defeated in 2007, al-Shabaab has continued its violent insurgency since then.
The US is one of several countries providing humanitarian aid, stabilization efforts, economic development, and military assistance to the Somali government in its ongoing campaign against the militant group.
In remarks to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, before AFRICOM revealed Tuesday’s strike, UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that “over 70 towns in Hirshabelle and Galmudug have been liberated from al-Shabaab’s brutal rule since last summer.”
Thomas-Greenfield credited the progress to “the bravery of Somalia’s security forces and citizens”
“We welcome the recent commitment by Somalia and its neighbors to expand operations against al-Shabaab further into southern Somalia. And we strongly support and call on other international partners to help meet Somalia’s force generation needs.
“Stability, which is of course directly tied to security, remains a challenge in Somalia. Delivering timely and balanced stabilization interventions to newly liberated territory is imperative to bring security and relief to the Somali people in these areas,” she added.
Former President Donald Trump ordered US troops out of Somalia in December 2020, a move President Biden reversed shortly after taking office.