On November 9, the US Army Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced in an official statement that American aircraft conducted an airstrike against a position of the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab group in Somalia.
According to AFRICOM, the airstrike destroyed a position of al-Shabaab in the Bay Region 160km west of the Somali capital, Mogadishu. The Voice of America (VOA) agency revealed that the airstrike was conducted by a US unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).
“Al-Shabaab has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to providing safe haven for terrorist attacks throughout the world. Al-Shabaab has publicly committed to planning and conducting attacks against the U.S. and our partners in the region,” AFRICOM said in its statement.
Somali officials believe that al-Shabaab group was behind the double-tap suicide attack that hit Mogadishu city back on October 14. 231 civilians were reportedly killed in the bloody attack.
Al-Shabaab controls large areas in southern Somalia, mainly in the areas formally held by the Somali Federal Government. The terrorist group positions are dangerously close to the Somali capital, as al-Shabaab controls Tiyeglow, El Ali and Fiidow towns north of Moqadeshu, and a large area from Leego town to Jamame city west and southwest of it.
Even after 11 years of fighting against al-Sabaab group, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), which is supporting the Somali Federal Government, is still unable to defeat the terrorist group.
AMISOM is already planning to withdraw from Somalia by December 2020. On November 8, AMISON announced that it will withdraw 1,000 of its troops from the country during 2017 according to France Press Agency (AFP).
This shows that Somalia is indeed turning into a lost battle for the US and its local allies, although that al-Shabaab is poorly armed, and should be easy to defeat for military power like the US.
Somalia is just another example of the situation faced by Syria and Iraq in the early years of the “war on ISIS” when tireless “anti-ISIS efforts” of the US-led coalition resulted in a rapid growth of ISIS’ self-proclaimed Caliphate.