US forces conducted a strike against Shabaab on Friday Dec. 15, approximately 30 miles northwest of Kismayo, Somalia. The attack killed eight Shabaab fighters and destroyed one vehicle, according to the AFRICOM press release.
Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia, was formerly a Shabaab stronghold. The Somali National Army recaptured it in 2012. AFRICOM noted that it would continue “targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region.”
The area where the strike took place is known to host both Shabaab fighters and leaders. The US military is thought to have launched three attacks near the town of Jilib, a known safe haven for the al Qaeda branch, last month.
At the end of March, the Trump administration loosened the restrictions on the US military to use force against Shabaab after the departments of Defense and State noted that Shabaab has become more lethal and dangerous. Shabaab has killed hundreds of African Union and Somali forces while overrunning bases in southern Somalia, and has maintained its safe havens while expanding areas under its control during 2016.
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal. Alexandra Gutowski is a military affairs analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.