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United States airstrikes kill 26 al-Shabaab fighters over Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said on Friday evening that it conducted an airstrike in central Somalia on Thursday, killing 26 al-Shabab terrorists.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) said no civilians were injured or killed in the airstrike, which occurred around Hiran region.

"This airstrike is one element of a larger strategy to support the Somali National Army as it increases pressure on the terrorist network and its recruiting efforts in the region," AFRICOM said in a statement.

The latest strike came a few hours after the al-Shabab carried out a deadly attack on Hotel Makkah Al-Mukaramah in Mogadishu, killing at least 36 people and injuring more than 60 others.

The U.S. military has stepped up air raids against al-Shabab, which is trying to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government.

Al-Shabab controls large parts of southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.


Senior al-Shabab militant killed in Somalia central region of Hiran

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali national forces on Thursday killed a senior al-Shabab militant in an operation conducted in Beledweyne town in Somalia’s central region of Hiran, officials said on Thursday evening.

Farah Ali Wasuge, commander of unit five, section 27 told the journalists that an offensive launched by Somali national forces in Beledweyne killed a senior al-Shabab official who was the masterminder of explosions in the town.

"Our forces shot the official as he was preparing explosives in a road, and escaped with bullet wounds to a house in Howl-wadag village in Beledweyne.

He later died in exchange of gunfire with the security forces," the commander said.

He noted that the troops stormed into the house and found weapons and many explosive materials, arresting the militant’s wife who denied that she was aware of the weapons and the explosives that her husband kept in his special room in the house.

Somali national forces backed by African Union Mission in Somalia have intensified the operations on al-Qaida affiliated group in central and southern Somalia, conducting major operations to drive the militants out of those regions.

Al-Shabab was ousted from the capital Mogadishu in August 2011, but the terror group is still in control of several areas in southern Somalia and capable of conducting attacks.

Somali security forces arrest three al-Shabab militants

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- Somali security forces have arrested three al-Shabab militants in the Amniyat, al-Shabab’s intelligence wing in an operation in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, officials said on Sunday evening.

Mohamed Abdullahi Tulah, deputy mayor for security in the Benadir region told journalists in Mogadishu that three al-Shabab militants were apprehended Sunday in an offensive conducted by Somali national forces in Wadajir district in Somalia’s capital.

"Our forces nabbed three al-Shabab extremists as they were trying to assassinate female member of electoral delegation committee," Tulah said.

He noted that they will intensify their operations against the extremists.

The militants paraded by the government pleaded guilty and asked the people to forgive them.

The arrest comes as assassinations in Mogadishu increased.

On Feb. 20, militants shot Mohamed Mursal, a Somali deputy attorney general, while on Feb. 24, suspected al-Shabab fighters gunned down Osman Elmi Boqore, a member of federal parliament in Mogadishu’s Karan district.

On Thursday evening, the al-Qaida linked group al-Shabab launched an attack on Makka Al-Mukarama hotel in the capital, killing at least 36 people and injuring more than 60 others.


United States airstrike kills 20 al-Shabab militants in central Somalia

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- The United States military said on Tuesday that it conducted an airstrike against al-Shabab terrorists in central Somalia on Monday, killing 20 terrorists and destroyed a vehicle.

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), which oversees American troops on the African continent, said in a statement the strike was conducted in cooperation with the Somali government near Shebeeley in Hiraan region, and targeted a training camp that was used as a staging area for attacks.

AFRICOM said the no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.

The strike came one day after another airstrike killed 35 militants in central Somalia.

U.S. forces in Somalia, in collaboration with Somali and African Union forces, are carrying out strikes that have largely targeted al-Shabab based in central and southern Somalia where the group still maintains a strong grip in some areas.

Conflict and insecurity force 320,000 Somalis to flee in 2018: NRC

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- An estimated 320,000 people fled their homes due to insecurity and conflict within Somalia in 2018, a humanitarian organization said on Thursday.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that the conflict and insecurity are getting worse since the number of civilians who fled their homes last year increased by 50 percent from 2017.

"We are alarmed at the sharp increase in the number of civilians forced to flee their homes in Somalia.

"The conflict is getting worse for civilians, making thousands more homeless.

"If this worrying trend continues, it could lead to catastrophe," Evelyn Aero, NRC’s regional adviser warned in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

According to Aero, areas hardest hit by the fighting were in the Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia, which are areas still heavily impacted today.

"These families take refuge in crowded camps for displaced people in Somalia, living in flimsy shelters.

"They are vulnerable to malaria, evictions, insecurity and gender based violence.

"Young children are especially vulnerable to malnutrition and disease.

"They urgently need more aid to survive," said Aero.

According to the organization, an estimated 2.6 million Somalis are currently displaced within the country.

In addition, conflict and insecurity, other causes of displacement include drought, flooding and evictions.

African Union says pro-government fighters contribute to enhancing security

MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) -- More than 20,000 pro-Somali government fighters have helped with the fight against al-Shabab terrorists across the Horn of Africa nation, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said in a new report.

In its Operational Readiness Assessment (ORA) report released on Tuesday evening in Mogadishu, the AU mission said the fighters who are members of various regional forces or clan-based militias, have played a major role in fight against al-Shabab and other armed opposition groups in five federal member states.

Francisco Madeira, special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, who launched the report, said it was important that the withdrawal of AMISOM troops is done in a manner that does not compromise the gains already made in the country.

"What we now need is to see how best we can use the regional forces in the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan," Madeira said according to a statement issued by AMISOM after the launch.

According to the report, in places like South West and Jubbaland states, the forces have fought alongside the Somali National Army and AMISOM troops to dislodge al-Shabab and protect communities.

The report is based on an ORA exercise conducted in the federal member states of Jubbaland, South West, Galmudug and Puntland between March 2018 and January 2019.

The report finds that most fighters have basic military training.

However, they were poorly housed and lacked equipment and administrative structures.

According to the report, Galmudug has the highest number of regional fighters, followed by Jubbaland, Puntland, South West and HirShabelle.



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