Somali, U.S. forces destroy al-Shabab camp in southern region

A military spokesman for al-Shabab issues a statement south of Mogadishu. Feisal Omar/Reuters

Somali and U.S. forces destroyed an al-Shabab camp in an airstrike Wednesday in the militants’ stronghold in the southern region.

Somali government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar says no civilians were killed or wounded in the attack.

The airstrike is part of the stepped-up military presence of allied forces in and around the al-Shabab-controlled town of Jilib.

“One al-Shabab occupied compound was destroyed in the strike. This inability to control their own territory highlights the weakness of al-Shabaab’s grip on power,” Ismael said in a statement issued here.

He said this week Somali forces and international partners have carried out a number of successful military operations in and around Jilib.

“Only a few years ago al-Shabab dominated most of southern Somalia, but now they have been forced to retreat under pressure from Somali, African Union, and American military forces,” said Ismael.

He said the latest strike further highlights the determination of the Somali government to bring to justice the al-Shabab terrorists who have exploited Somalis in their campaign of violence and fear.

Somalia and partner forces have intensified military operations into territory formerly controlled by al-Shabab after driving the insurgents out of Mogadishu in 2011.

Al-Shabab still controls some parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.