The United States military has confirmed that it carried out another airstrike against al-Shabab militants, its third in less than two weeks.
The strike was in support of Somali government forces in the vicinity of Qeycad, in the central Galmudug state, according to the U.S. military.
Both the U.S. and Somali government said there were no civilian casualties.
The Somali government earlier reported the strike was in an area where federal and U.S.-trained forces were fighting the militants. There was no word on whether militants were injured or killed.
“This is another major blow to al-Shabab’s means to wage war against the Somali people,” a statement by the Information Ministry of Somalia said.
“The airstrikes destroyed a large al-Shabab firing position engaging Danab and SNA (Somali National Army) forces as they approached,” the statement added.
Danab are Somali commandos who were trained by the US.
Al-Shabaab released a statement saying that the government forces, supported by the US were not successful in their fight on August 1st.
Previous airstrikes took place July 20 and 23 in the same vicinity.
These are the first airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January.
On July 30th, at least three soccer players were killed, and six others injured in an explosion in the southern Somali port town of Kismayo.
Mohamed Guled Hassan, deputy commander of Jubaland regional police forces said that the blast was caused by a bomb planted on a bus carrying a local soccer team.
The bomb was “apparently planted on the bus carrying young players on their way to attend a soccer tournament, which was opening in the town. Three of them were killed and six others were hospitalized for injuries,” said Hassan.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but the police commander has placed the blame on Somali militant group al-Shabab.
“This heinous attack against young innocent players is another evidence of the terrorists’ enmity against the lives of Somali youth,” read a short statement on Twitter from Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
The instability in Somalia is likely deepening, as elections were postponed yet again.
ndirect parliamentary and presidential polls were due to open on July 25 with four days of voting for the upper house by state delegates. The election cycle was due to end with a presidential poll on October 10.
“Even though the plan was the upper house election to start around the various states today, there is a delay, the election may not take place as planned,” a member of the electoral commission told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The delay was due to the fact that federal regions were neither able to submit candidates’ lists in time, nor to form local committees to cast the ballots, the source added.
A spokesman for the federal government, Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu, told AFP that the elections were “postponed,” without providing details.
The candidates’ lists weren’t provided on time due to threats by al-Shabaab.
Jihadists warned politicians against taking part in the elections, which were due to kick off after months of deadlock and delays.
The threat, in an audio message purportedly recorded by Al-Shabaab leader Ahmed Umar Abu Ubaidah, underscores the security challenges facing the election process in the country.
The Al-Qaeda-linked group has been fighting to overthrow the federal government since 2007 and frequently attacks government, security and civilian targets.
Somalia was plunged into an unprecedented constitutional crisis early this year, when President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the leaders of Somalia’s five states were unable to agree on the terms of a vote before his term lapsed in February.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Biden’s Second Drone Strike Hit Al-Shabaab In Somalia
- Military Situation In Somalia On July 24, 2021 (Map Update)