US forces helped Somali commandos in an operation in southern Somalia that killed several members of al Shabaab, a Pentagon official said on August 16th.
The operation took place on August 10th. Somali forces approached an al Shabaab checkpoint. The terrorists reportedly opened fire and a gun battle ensued. “US advisers accompanied the Somali-led force, which is standard for what we do in that area,” an AFRICOM spokesperson said. The US forces did not participate in the gun battle, he claimed.
There had been a persistent drip feed of reports in Nairobi in the intervening week that al Shabaab leader Abu Ubaidah had been killed or captured in the operation, according to the New York Times. However the AFRICOM spokesperson would not be drawn on this, saying the US military was still assessing the results of the operation.
Goobjoog News carried a more detailed report on the raid: “US trained Somali forces have killed several Al-Shabab fighters including senior commanders and Al-Shabaab technical vehicles destroyed during covert operations in southern Somalia, Defense ministry said Tuesday. In a statement to newsrooms, the Defence Ministry confirmed its elite forces carried out clandestine operations in Sakow town inflicting heavy losses on the militant group in a sustained campaign to secure major regions of the country ahead of the September polls.
“Somali commandos hit Al-Shabaab targets in Sakow town, killing several fighters including senior members of the group,” the statement dated August 16 noted. The development comes amid reports Al-Shabaab leader Abu Ubaida and the group’s spokesman Abu Muscaib may have been eliminated in the raid. Somali government has not however made reference to the names and neither has it indicated the dates of the raid. Sources have however told Goobjoog News the raids took place between 10 and 13th of this month. Meanwhile a US state department official told BBC Somali Monday that indeed US with Somali elite squad were involved in operations in Middle Jubba.”
As of September 2019, Abu Ubaidah is still listed on the US Rewards for Justice website – indicating that he was not in fact killed in this event.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in 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.