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United States says kills three al-Shabab militants in Somalia 

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said Wednesday it killed three al-Shabab militants in central Somalia.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the strike, in the vicinity of Quy Cad near Debatscile, was conducted on Tuesday to keep pressure on the militant group and help provide Somali forces time and space to develop their independent capability to protect the people of Somalia.

“We currently assess this airstrike did not injure or kill any civilians,” said AFRICOM, which has conducted more than 30 airstrikes against al-Shabab in 2018.

Gregg P. Olson, director of operations at AFRICOM, vowed to continue working with Somali, AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) and other international partners to grow and develop Somali security forces.

“As part of that effort, we conduct precision strikes to foil terrorist plans, kill al-Shabab terrorists and reduce the enemy’s freedom of maneuver,” Olson said in a statement.

“In contrast to al-Shabab’s indiscriminate attacks on Somali civilians, AFRICOM goes to great lengths to protect the innocent when striking terrorist targets,” Olson added.

The latest strike comes after the U.S. military killed more than 50 militants in separate airstrikes in the Horn of Africa nation last week.



Six al-Shabab militants killed in central Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Six al-Shabab militants were killed and several others injured in separate incidents in Hiraan region of central Somalia during a fighting between Somali National Army (SNA) and the militants, officials said Wednesday.

Abdirahim Takow, Deputy Governor of Hiraan region for security affairs told reporters that four of the militants were killed early Wednesday while two others died in a blast of landmine which they were planting at the airport in Bula-burte town in the region.

“Six al-Shabab militants were killed in two separate incidents here in Hiraan region. SNA soldiers killed four al-Shabab militants at an area about 80km to Beletweyne town and the two others died in a landmine blast overnight at the airport of Bula-burte town in the same region,” said Takow.

He added that an African Union soldier from Djiboutian contingent was killed in the bomb blast inside the airport on Tuesday.

The militants claimed responsibility of the killing of the AU soldier and wounding another one from the Djiboutian contingent on Tuesday, but it did not comment on Wednesday’s clashes with SNA forces.

The terrorist group has stepped up its attacks in the central region of Somalia after being flushed out from the capital Mogadishu.


Somali army kills three al-Shabab fighters in central region

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali army on Tuesday killed three al-Shabab militants and injured several others during a fierce fighting with the insurgents at Oronto in Hiraan region of central Somalia, officials said.

Farah Koshin, Somali National Army (SNA) Commander, said the fighting broke out after the militants attempted to ambush the forces who had just left Beledweyne town to Mahas town in Hiraan region.

“Somali National Army killed three al-Shabab militants, injured several others and recovered weapons. The terrorist fighters attempted to ambush the army travelling to Mahas town, but they were repulsed and three of them killed,” Koshin said.

He did not say whether there were some casualties on SNA soldiers.

The militant group’s media affiliated website said their fighters conducted an ambush attack against SNA near Mahas town in Hiraan region, but did not state the number of casualties.

Somali and African Union peacekeeping mission forces have intensified security in Beledweyne town and its environs following the visit by officials from Hirshabelle State and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in the town.


African Union mulls successful implementation of transition plan in Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- A delegation from the African Union Peace Support Division (PSD) wrapped up their three-day visit to Somalia on Wednesday, calling for successfully implementation of the transition plan within the country’s security framework.

The 27-member delegation led by Mohamed Idriss, Djibouti ambassador to Ethiopia, also promised to keenly examine the situation in the Horn of African nation.

Idriss said they hope a meeting of military chiefs from the six troop contributing countries (TCCs) slated for Friday will adopt the new exit strategy framework for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

“The military chiefs from the Troop Contributing Countries will meet on 30 November 2018. We hope that the outcome of this meeting will inform the adoption of the new Concept of Operations [CONOPS], which is the framework for AMISOM’s exit strategy,” he said in a statement issued at the end of their visit.

The Djiboutian envoy said the AU Peace and Security Council will be seeking to validate resolutions from the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC) meeting, which brings together all military chiefs from the TCCs, key partners and AMISOM leadership.

The CONOPS, which aims to provide a structure for AMISOM operations from 2018 to 2021, marks the final phase of the AU Mission’s transition and its eventual exit from Somalia.

It is expected to provide a comprehensive basis for conducting operations including training and mentoring the Somali police and the national army, while at the same time creating a useful framework for stabilization, civil military activities, early recovery and reconstruction.

The AU delegation which assessed the security and political situation in Somalia said it held successful deliberations with senior government officials, leaders of the Federal Member States, AMISOM, the UN and representatives of the civil society, among them youth, media and minority groups.

“The AU Peace and Security Council takes the issue (of Somalia) seriously and will in the coming days examine the situation in Somalia,” said Idriss.

He said findings from their visit will be shared with relevant bodies, including with leaders from the TCCs to AMISOM.

The delegation also sought to know the progress made in the transitioning of national security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali National Security Forces as per the United Nations Security Council and AU Peace and Security Council Resolutions.

During their meeting, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire Khaire appealed to the African Union to remain a voice and advocate for Somalia’s cause at international fora.

“10 years ago, Somalia was a country forgotten, with little hope for prosperity. Today we are re-emerging in the eyes of the international community and being a pride of the continent, as a functioning developing state and no longer a failed state,” Khaire told the delegation.

He highlighted his government’s key priorities, which include defeating terrorism, and stressed the government’s commitment to defending the gains hard-fought by AMISOM and the Somali security forces.


Al-Shabab frees two Kenyans after five days in captivity

WAJIR (Xinhua) -- Somali militant group, al-Shabab on Wednesday released two Kenyans whom they had kidnapped last week from a village in Wajir County in the northeast region.

Mohamed Birik, Northeastern regional commissioner confirmed the release of the two camel herders following successful negotiations between two clans in Somalia. The two were abducted on Nov. 22.

Birik said the herders arrived safely in Khorof Kharar, noting that the government has stepped up security in border towns to avert cross-border incursions by al-Shabab militants.

“We have deployed more security personnel on the border areas to prevent a similar incident. Patrols have been enhanced at large,” said the government administrator.

Residents said the herders were abducted after they resisted to pay zakat (Islamic tax or offering) to the militant group that had come to Konton town in the area.

According to the residents, the militants had been roaming in the area for at least two days before kidnapping the herders and crossing with them into Somalia.

The unknown number of militants, who accused the herders of grazing animals at the Somali border, also took away six camels belonging to the herders.

According to local officials, the incident prompted elders from Degodia-Fai that reside in Wajir to visit the Marehan elders in Somalia to negotiate for the release of the two who were abducted along the Kenyan border while grazing their animals.

The elders managed to secure the release of the victims after five days of negotiations but did no secure the release of their camels.

Birik called on the residents to be vigilant and always share information with security agencies to help flush out the al-Qaeda allied terrorist group.



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