At least one al Shabaab militant was reportedly killed as Shabaab positions in Kismayo, Jubaland, were subject to aerial shelling, international and local media reported. There was disagreement about whether the US, France or Kenya were to blame
A local resident told Reuters: “A jet bombarded an al Shabaab base near the port. It dropped a huge shell, flew past, came and then dropped another shell…The whole town shook. We’ve never heard anything like it. Everyone ran away.”
The strikes in Kismayo were said to have killed at least one al Shabaab militan, according to some sources including Bloomberg. Meanwhile the terror group denied any casualties. “There were no casualties,” an al Shabaab source in southern Somalia told Reuters. “We fired at the plane after the second bombardment and it has not come back.” No civilians were reportedly harmed.
Kenyan military spokesperson Major Emanuel Chirchir said the strike was in support of a Kenyan Defence Force advance in southern Somalia, while attributing blame to either the US or France. The spokesperson told the New York Times “everybody is in theatre… they are complementary.” Kenya also said in a statement cited by the New York Times that the French Navy had also shelled rebel positions from the sea.
Chirchir would not however identify who had carried out the airstrikes, while noting that: “Everyone knows who is fighting the terrorists, they are the same partners who are always fighting al Qaeda.”
Two senior American officials in Washington told the New York Times that the US had not carried out the attacks. The French also denied they carried out the strikes or were responsible for a naval bombardment in the preceding days.
Finally, several sources, including Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Farah Dahir, a Somali army spokesperson, said Kenyan jets were responsible for the attack that killed an al Shabaab commander. Al Shabaab also said a Kenyan jet launched the strike.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (8) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike targeted a base near the Kismayo seaport. The generic coordinates for the city of Kismayo are: -0.355651, 42.545703. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.