A recent report in Shabelle on the fighting in the border town of Dhobley in southern Somalia and the death of a Shabaab commander includes speculation that airpower is being employed against Shabaab fighters and commanders:
Also, Hassan Abdurrahman Gumarey, an Al shabaab official was confirmed dead in the fighting that on Sunday rocked the border town of Dhobley.
Some reports suggested that during the battle, aerial strikes on were targeted Al Shabaab officials, killing number of Al sSabaab military officers.
The Somali government and the African Union forces backing them do not possess aircraft needed to carry out airstrikes, but Ethiopia, Kenya, and the US do.
While the Shabelle report is unconfirmed (a rumor really), it isn’t unreasonable to speculate that the US may be carrying out airstrikes and other such ‘over-the-horizon’ attacks against Shabaab. The US has done so in the past.
During the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in December 2006 and January 2007, the US launched airstrikes against al Qaeda leaders in Kismayo and Ras Kamboni. In June 2007, a US destroyer fired shells at a group of speedboats thought to be transporting al Qaeda fighters off the coast on Puntland. In March 2008, the US launched a strike (thought to be by sea-launched cruise missiles) in Dhobley against Ras Kamboni Brigades leader Hassan Turki and al Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. In May 2008, a US airstrike in Dhusamareb killed Shabaab leaders Aden Hashi Ayro and Sheikh Muhyadin Omar. And in September 2009, a US special operations team killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan during a raid in Barawe.