Seven IS militants killed in US-led airstrike in Somalia

File photo of a US Africom soldier. Picture: Twitter/@USAfricaCommand
File photo of a US Africom soldier. Picture: Twitter/@USAfricaCommand

CAPE TOWN, July 23 (ANA) – Seven Islamic State Somalia militants were killed in an airstrike by the United States Africa Command (US Africom).

In a statement released yesterday, US Africom reported a retaliatory airstrike that killed seven IS Somalia militants after the terrorist group attacked US Africom’s partner forces near Timirshe, located directly on the Horn of Africa, on July 21.

US Africom stated that the US forces were in the area to assist the Somali and partner forces when the airstrike occurred.

No civilians were killed or injured during the airstrike, according to the statement.

Deputy director of US Africom’s operations and US Army Brigadier General Miguel Castellanos reiterated their commitment to supporting the Somali government to “rid Somalia of the likes of Isis and al-Shabaab”. 

US Africom further stated that their support of the Somali government is achieved through “strengthening its security forces and promoting regional security, stability and prosperity”. 

Africa Command is building strategic alliances in East Africa and emphasises that the challenges faced on the continent require both African and international solutions, it said.

In the US State Department’s annual “Country Reports on Terrorism 2019”, released on June 24, it notes Somalia’s inability to neutralise threats from militant groups on its own.

US Africom’s support is based on the condition that its African partners act in accordance with US interests.

In a Twitter post on Thursday, US Africom stated: “US Africa Command supports security programmes of partner nations that reflect US interests and do so primarily through military-to-military and assistance programmes, using a comprehensive approach.” 

The 20-year war between Eritrea and Ethiopia in which tens of thousands of people were killed was sparked by the two countries backing opposing sides of the conflict in Somalia, the BBC reported.

As a US ally, Ethiopia was required to support the US-backed Somalian government, while Eritrea was accused of supporting Islamist groups.

The Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict ended in the 2018 Declaration of Peace & Friendship. Since then the two countries have made significant strides in creating a harmonious relationship, as evidenced by multiple diplomatic visits between them this year alone, according to the Minister of Communications for Eritrea, Yemane Morkel.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher

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