Heavy Shabaab Casualties As U.S. Steps Up Drone Attacks
From DailyNation. Story by By Kevin J. Kelley.
U.S. forces “conducted a series of strikes against Al-Shabaab” during the past week, a spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command said on Friday in an email message.
The attacks, reportedly by drones, were carried out in defence of troops affiliated with the African Union mission in Somalia (Amisom), added spokesman Patrick Barnes.
“The strikes prevented attacks by militants, which posed a significant threat to friendly forces,” Barnes told the Sunday Nation.
Kenya has mounted an unprecedented security operation in Nairobi, in cooperation with the U.S. Secret Service and other agencies, to guard against a Shabaab attack during Obama’s visit.
The militant group is simultaneously coming under heavy fire in Somalia.
A joint offensive recently launched by Amisom and the Somalia national army resulted in the capture of two towns near the Kenyan border, Dinsor and Bardhere, that had been under Shabaab’s control.
The port city of Baraawe, one of Shabaab’s last strongholds, is now being targeted by Kenyan troops and other units under Amisom’s command.
As many as six U.S. drone strikes were launched near Baraawe in the past week, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. Those attacks represented a shift in U.S. military operations in Somalia, according to an anonymous U.S. military official quoted in the LA Times account.
“It’s a change in how we’re providing support,” the official said. “Up until now, we’ve focused strikes on high-value targets. These strikes were launched to defend forces on the ground.”
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