A U.S. airstrike reportedly killed 5 al-Shabaab militants in Somalia on Tuesday morning. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) confirmed the joint military operation with the Somali National Army (SNA). The strike occurred about 35 km southeast of Gal’ad in Somalia’s Galmudug State.
Ali Heele, Gal’ad, Galmudug, SOMALIA. By Dalmar:
The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) reported on 15 August that the Somali National Army (SNA), aided by international allies, successfully neutralized five al-Shabaab members. The allied forces executed the operation early in the morning near Gal’ad town, 244 km northeast of Mogadishu.
Confirming the operation and the tally of deceased al-Shabaab militants, AFRICOM verified these details yesterday. However, the statement conspicuously underscores that AFRICOM conducted the airstrike in a defensive effort to bolster the SNA troops who were under attack from al-Shabaab.
The press release leaves no room for ambiguity, clarifying that it was indeed al-Shabaab that launched an assault on the SNA forces, a provocation that the SNA troops repelled with AFRICOM’s assistance. “The airstrike was in support of Somali National Army forces who were engaged by the terrorist organization,” the statement reads, adding that no civilians were injured or killed.
The government of Somalia and their media continue misleading the public. They twisted the narrative, claiming it was the SNA who attacked al-Shabaab. However, in fact, the militant group attacked the Somali troops, whom AFRICOM then defended.
FGS twisted the narrative in July as well
This was not the first time different stakeholders reported different accounts from Gal’ad. In mid-July, AFRICOM again had to clarify FGS’ reports. Clashes between al-Shabaab and the SNA occurred near the Gal-Libah and El Quraq villages. Both sides claimed victory and reported causing heavy casualties to the opposing side.
Somalia’s Defence Ministry claimed that its forces successfully neutralized approximately 100 al-Shabaab fighters who planned to attack them. However, according to AFRICOM, al-Shabaab initiated an attack, pushing the government troops to seek assistance from the U.S. In their words, “The airstrike was in support of Somali National Army forces who were engaged by the terrorist organization.” AFRICOM clarified that only five al-Shabaab militants died in the operation.