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US forces up offensive against Al-Shabaab a year after deadly truck bombing

Storyline:National News, Security
FILE: US forces in Somalia have in the recent months increased strikes againsy Al-Shaabab. Photo: James Peterson/National Geographic

US forces have rammed-up strikes against the militant group Al-Shabaab targeting bases in central and southern regions of Somalia.

The African Command (AFRICOM) said Monday it killed four Al-Shabaab militants in Araara locality in the Lower Jubba region ‘after partner forces came under small arms fire’.

“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. forces conducted a collective self-defense airstrike targeting al-Shabaab militants in the vicinity of Araara, Somalia, on October 14, 2018,” AFRICOM said in a statement.

The strike follows another one in Mudug region two days earlier. The US force said it was yet to get the results of the strike in Harardere on October 12.

The strikes come amid a deadly Al-Shabaab bomb attack in Baidoa, the capital of South West state which has since claimed close to 20 lives. The bombing hit a restaurant Saturday evening killing at least ten people. The death toll has since risen.

Al-Shabaab alleged Monday it killed more than ten AMISOM forces in Marka, Lower Shabelle region.

President Donald Trump eased standard operation procedures for the forces when he came to office given them more latitude in decision making besides declaring parts of southern Somalia an ‘active war zone’.

The U.S. Defense Department awarded a more than $12 million contract for “emergency runway repairs” at Camp Baledogle in central Somalia August reinforcing its foot print in the Horn of Africa nation following its disgraceful exit in 1994 after the Black Hawk debacle.

AFRICOM has since conducted close to 30 strikes since the beginning of the year and the increased strikes could eclipse last year’s 31.

Somalia Sunday marked a year since the deadly truck bombing in the capital Mogadishu which killed close to 600 people and maimed over 300 others.