United States and Somali military forces raided a rebel-held village in southern Somalia and killed several al-Shabab fighters, a senior Somali intelligence official said, as both countries step up efforts against Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group.
Somali commandos accompanied by US forces in two helicopters raided two locations, the official said. They included a detention center run by al-Shabab in Kunya-Barrow village in Lower Shabelle region, and an unknown number of detainees were freed.
Troops engaged a small number of extremist fighters, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
US Africa Command spokesman Mark Cheadle said US forces conducted an “advise and assist mission” against al-Shabab with members of the Somali National Army in Kunya-Barrow. He gave no further details.
There were no US casualties, AFRICOM spokeswoman Jennifer Dyrcz added Friday morning.
The al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabab said via its Andalus radio arm that its fighters foiled an attempted raid by US and African forces.
Earlier this month, the US military said it carried out an airstrike against al-Shabab in Somalia and was assessing the results.
The airstrike followed another last month that the US said killed eight extremists at a rebel command and logistics camp in the country’s south. Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said a training camp near Sakow in the Middle Juba region had been destroyed.
President Donald Trump has approved expanded military operations against al-Shabab, including more aggressive airstrikes and considering parts of southern Somalia areas of active hostilities.
The US in April announced it was sending dozens of regular troops in the largest such deployment to Somalia in roughly two decades, saying it was for logistics training of the country’s army.