The U.S. conducted an airstrike in Somalia on Sunday against al-Shabab, killing two, U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.
According to a statement by AFRICOM, al-Shabab insurgents were attacking Somali National Army forces near Buulobarde, more than 124 miles north of the country’s capital of Mogadishu. This appears to be the 10th strike by U.S. forces in Somalia in 2022, according to a Long War Journal tracker. That’s compared to 11 such strikes in 2021 and 44 in 2020.
“Al-Shabaab is the largest and most kinetically active al-Qaeda network in the world and has proved both its will and capability to attack U.S. forces and threaten U.S. security interests,” AFRICOM officials said in a statement. “U.S. Africa Command, alongside its partners, continues to take action to prevent this malicious terrorist group from planning and conducting attacks on civilians.”
The strike on Sunday killed two al-Shabaab fighters, while no civilians were injured or killed, according to AFRICOM. The command has in the past been accused by groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch of killing civilians in strikes, despite the command claiming otherwise.
The airstrike came a week after the the Somali Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism released a statement saying that government forces had reclaimed territories in the Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions in the Hirshabelle State.
While the government would not give an exact number, the Ministry claimed that numerous al-Shabaab militants were killed as government forces made those territorial gains.
The U.S. airstrike is one in a series of such attacks in recent months. In September, a U.S. airstrike killed more 27 al-Shabaab militants in the same region, AFRICOM claimed. The strike took place in the same region, near Buulobarde.
“The defensive strikes allowed the Somali National Army and African Union Transition Mission in Somalia forces to regain the initiative and continue the operation to disrupt al-Shabaab in the Hiraan region of central Somalia,” the September statement said. “This operation is the largest combined Somali and ATMIS offensive operation in five years.”
This came as hundreds U.S. troops restarted regular rotations in Somalia, after the Biden administration overturned a Trump-era decision to pull all troops out of country by the beginning of 2021.
The U.S. military has been operating in Somalia since 2007, as a part of the Global War on Terror.
Zamone “Z” Perez is an editorial fellow at Defense News and Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa, where he helped produce podcasts. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched humanitarian intervention and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.