US AIRSTRIKE KILLS DIRECTOR OF LEADING ALSHABAAB FINANCIER, HORMUUD TELECOM

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Alshabaab Militants

The U.S. military on Monday said it carried out an airstrike targeting Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, the latest in increasing counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of Africa. The U.S. Africa Command [AFRICOM] said in a statement that the air raid killed one “terrorist” in the vicinity of Jilib town in the Middle Juba region, south of Somalia on Feb. 24.

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On the other hand, Somali telecommunication company Hormuud said the U.S. attack has killed the manager of its branch in Jilib town with the family also confirming that “he was not a terrorist”. For weeks now, the US military has been launching an offensive against the Al-Shabaab militants, targeting suspected militants within central and southern Somalia. Family sources said the slain director was leaving his farm when the drone dropped a missile, killing him instantly. Meanwhile, Somali State media reported on Monday that the man killed in the American military operation was a “terrorist”.

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Hormuud Telecom

Monday’s airstrike was the fourth within Jilib town this year, an area considered to be an Al-Shabaab headquarters, where training and recruitment are done. In an interview with Voice of America, White House correspondent Carla Babb, AFRICOM spokesperson said the matter is currently under review. “Will look into the matter” and “review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties,” said Air Force Col. Chris Karns. Without divulging to more details, he added: “We comply with the laws of armed conflict and take feasible precautions during the targeting process.” One of the major guiding factor when conducting airstrikes is ensuring civilians are protected from such onslaught. The spokesperson said “removing a known and legitimate threat makes Somalia,safer. Even one or a handful of terrorists with intent to do harm can cause great harm.” Al-Shabaab leadership has expressed its primary desire is to conduct attacks not just in East Africa, but against Americans and U.S. interests across the globe,” AFRICOM said.

Ever since losing grip in Somalia capital, Mogadishu in 2011, the much-weakened militants have been carrying out sporadic attacks using IEDs in major towns. A report by the UN also observed that the militants have lately been deserting their hideouts in remote villages due to increased US airstrikes.

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