29 October 2013

Somalia: U.S. Drone Kills Two Al-Shebab Members, Eyewitnesses

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A Predator drone in US Air Force base in 2011's summer.

A suspected US military drone strike has killed two senior al-Shebab fighters near the southern Somalia town of Jilib, officials and witnesses said.

Witnesses said that the drone strike hit a car in Haramka neighbourhood near Jilib district, which is the most populous town in Middle Juba region still in the hands of al-Shebab.

Terrified residents say that several loud explosions were heard in the area.

"The two men were travelling with small luxurious vehicle when they were caught by the drone attack," Mohamed Mohamud, a witness who rushed to the scene of the attack, told RFI by phone. "Their vehicle was levelled to the ground and there was flesh and blood in the area."

"I heard a very loud explosion followed by clouds of flames and smokes," another resident, Abdulle Ali, said.

Somalia government spokesperson Ridwan Hajji Abdiweli confirmed the attack had taken place.

There were no immediate comments from al-Shebab commanders.

Earlier this month US forces carried out a dawn-raid on an al-Shebab base in the town of Barawe but failed to capture their intended target after a gun-battle. One rebel fighter died in the firefight.

Al-Shebab militants still control large areas of territory in south and central Somalia, chopping off hands for what it considers un-Islamic behavior.

An African Union mission has struggled for years to try to help the weak central government retain control of the capital and Kenyan and Ethiopian forces have made incursions to try to keep the fighters from expanding operations into their territories.

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