Somalia: U.S. Airstrike Kills Al-Shabaab Commander in Southwest Somalia

US Africa Command (Africom) has announced that it killed a senior commander of the Al-Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabaab in an airstrike on 2 April.

The slain militant commander, Yussuf Jiis, was reportedly a founding member of the group who has held senior positions in the group over the last decade.

Yussuf Jiis and two other Al-Shabaab members were killed in an airstrike in Bush Madina, Bay region, some 217 kilometers west of the capital, Mogadishu.

"This individual was a key leader in the al-Shabaab organization. He was violent, ruthless, and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives. His removal makes Somalia and neighboring countries safer," Gen Stephen Townsend, Aafricom commander said in a statement.

The US has increased its airstrikes against the group over the last few days, hitting Al-Shabaab-controlled areas in Bay, Lower Shabelle, and Middle Jubba regions.

In a separate statement, the US said it killed five Al-Shabaab members near Jilib on 6 April. Jilib is a militant stronghold in the Middle Jubba region, southern Somalia.

"While we might like to pause our operations in Somalia because of the Coronavirus, the leaders of Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabaab, and ISIS have announced that they see this crisis as an opportunity to further their terrorist agenda so we will continue to stand with and support our African partners," Gen Townsend said.

Some rights groups have however accused the US of killing civilians in airstrikes in Somalia.

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