Up to three senior members of al Shabaab were killed by a US military drone in Saakow, Middle Juba, international media reported. There were no known reports of associated civilian harm.
The US military said that an airstrike had targeted a “senior leader” of the al Shabaab militant group. Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency later identified the target as al Shabaab’s chief of intelligence, known as Abdishakur.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed that the US had killed Abdishakur with drones in a briefing two days after the strike.
The NSA said that both Abdishakur and two other senior members of the group were killed in the strike, according to Bloomberg. An anonymous US official later told Reuters that Abdishakur and one other militant had died. A US defence official told CNN that the strike was carried out by a drone.
The previous week a senior al Shabaab figure also described as the group’s head of intelligence gave himself up to Somali authorities. The US had reportedly offered a $3m reward for information leading to his capture.
In a subsequent FOIA response obtained by journalist Joshua Eaton in May 2019, AFRICOM again confirmed it had carried out a strike on what it says was an “al- Shabaab named objective”, in Sakoow, Somalia.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (6) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place near the town Saakow, for which the coordinates are: 1.637795, 42.452829. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
Pentagon officials confirmed today that a high-ranking member of the al-Shabab militant group in Somalia was killed in a Dec. 29 airstrike.
The unmanned U.S. aircraft strike near Saakow, Somalia, killed Tahlil Abdishakur, chief of al-Shabab’s intelligence and security wing, officials said in a statement.
Working from actionable intelligence, U.S. forces struck a vehicle carrying Tahlil with several Hellfire missiles, officials added.
Tahlil was responsible for al-Shabaab's external operations. “His death will significantly impact al-Shabaab's ability to conduct attacks against the government of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the Somali people, and U.S. allies and interests in the region," the Pentagon statement said.