The United States military on Wednesday said that it killed one Al-Shabaab terrorist and wounded another after it conducted an airstrike in the southern region of Somalia.
According to the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), the airstrike was conducted in the vicinity of Jilib.
Jilib, which has been identified as one of Al-Shabaab’s strongholds in the southern region, has seen increased security operations with the U.S. military conducting at least six airstrikes in the area so far in 2020.
AFRICOM added that an Al-Shabaab compound was destroyed in the airstrike.
“U.S. Africa Command continues to assist the Federal Government of Somalia in disrupting Al-Shabaab plans for destruction. We remain committed to supporting our partners in our mutual fight against violent extremism,” AFRICOM’s director of public affairs U.S. Air Force Col Chris Karns said.
AFRICOM said that it was aware of reports claiming that some civilians were killed in the airstrike but noted that a preliminary assessment of the incident showed that no civilian was injured or killed.
“As with any allegation of civilian casualties we receive, U.S. Africa Command reviews reasonably available information it has about the incident,” AFRICOM said in a statement.
In late February, Hormud Telecommunications, Somalia’s biggest telecommunications company, said one of its employees was killed in an airstrike in Jilib. AFRICOM, which reported it had killed one Al-Shabaab militant in the strike, said it would look into the incident.
In its civilian casualty assessment released on Tuesday, AFRICOM said that an investigation confirmed that the allegations were unsubstantiated.
“On February 24, 2020 an airstrike was executed against an individual which U.S. intelligence, compiled over the course of several years, confirmed was an al-Shabaab commander. The strike was conducted in a remote area where effects were confirmed to be limited to the individual.”
AFRICOM maintained that it complies with the law of armed conflict and takes all feasible precautions to minimize risk to civilians.
AFRICOM further stated that it will use “a range of effective and appropriate methods” to assist in the protection of the Somali people from Al-Shabaab’s intention to spread its reach and further export violence.
Somalia has been plagued by terrorism for more than a decade, perpetrated by the Al-Shabaab militant group. The war waged by the terrorists, who have been trying to topple the central government, has killed tens of thousands and forced millions to flee their homes.