25.10.20222: Buuloburde, Hiiraan
The United States Department of Defence, U.S. Army Africa Command (USAFRICOM) released a statement this afternoon confirming a drone strike conducted near Buuloburde that killed two Al-Shabab militants. The statement outlined that the militants were attacking SNA forces in the region and assessed that no civilians were killed or injured in the airstrike. This has not been independently verified.
The U.S. Government confirmed that the airstrike was jointly conducted with the Somali Federal Government and SNA forces on the ground.
This comes at a time where the U.S. Government has increased airstrikes against Al-Shabab targets in Somalia as the war the between SNA forces supported by local ‘Macawisley’ clan militia and Al-Shabab intensifies. Last month, the USAFRICOM confirmed they had killed 27 militants via airstrikes in the Hiiraan region of Hirshabelle State, Somalia.
Last week, the U.S. government announced new sanctions on fourteen individuals for financial facilitation and recruitment including six individuals that the U.S. claims are part of a weapons smuggling ring for Al-Shabab under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorist groups and facilitators.
The six individuals named by the U.S. Treasury department include Hassan Afgooye, Abdirahman Nurey, Khalif Adale, Abdikarim Hussein Gagaale and Abdi Samad. Additionally, Mohamed Hussein Salad, Suleiman Mataan, Ahmed Hassan Ali and Mohamed Ali Badaas have also been sanctioned under the same Executive Order, accused of being part of an Al-Shabab weapons smuggling ring based in war-torn Yemen. Lastly, U.S. State Department designated five more individuals who hold leadership roles within al Shabaab: Mohamed Mire, Yasir Jiis, Yusuf Ahmed Hajji Nurow, Mustafa Aato, and Mohamoud Abdi Aden, again under the same executive order.
The militant group of al Shabab has suffered heavy casualties over the last three months. Somali government forces backed by local militia groups and international partners have intensified operations against the militants. The government announced yesterday that over 100 Al-Shabab militants were killed in 48 hours during operations in Hirshabelle State to eradicate the group from the region.
Just a few days ago, SNA forces killed Sirad Omar Gacal & ‘Deeroow’, two senior Al-Shabab officials in charge of finance & a commander respectively in the region of Moqokori – the last Al-Shabab hold in Hiiiraan. Similarly in neighbouring Middle Shabelle, SNA forces are closing on the Al-Shabab stronghold of Masjid Ali Guduud region.