The US military has stepped up its targeting of Shabaab, al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia and East Africa. Since the New Year, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has hit Shabaab 14 times. AFRICOM acknowledges that the air campaign is not sufficient to defeat Shabaab, but can only support the Somali government’s efforts.
AFRICOM announced today that it targeted Shabaab twice over the past 48 hours. A strike on Feb 6. in Gandarshe killed 11 fighters. Another on Feb. 7 in Bariire, which took place as Somali forces were attempting to “disrupt al-Shabaab efforts to illegally tax and intimidate civilians in the area,” killed four more fighters.
There were three more offensives against Shabaab over the past week. On Feb. 5, AFRICOM launched an airstrike near Leego that targeted “a financial center used by terrorists to fund their operations,” killing two fighters. AFRICOM killed 14 Shabaab fighters in two operations in Gandarshe, a terrorist hotbed, on Feb. 1 and again on Feb. 3.