Kenya: US air strikes killed 30 Al Shabab militants

Kenya says over 30 Al Shabab militants killed in US drone strike in Somalia

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The number of Al Shabab militants killed in US air strikes in Somalia on Thursday has reached 30, according to the Kenyan government.

"Over 30 were killed, among them most wanted terrorists," Kenyan Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said.

Kenya’s Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government earlier stated that at least two senior commanders from the Al Shabab militant group were murdered in an unmanned drone strike in the Juungal area of Somalia.

The strike reportedly hit a vehicle carrying Al Shabab officials.

The bodies were found after several loud blasts were heard in the town of Barded, one of the few towns still controlled by Al Shabab militants, the locals added.

The air strike came just over a week before US President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya.

Somali sources confirmed the attack.

"We heard two big explosions and the information we are getting indicates that vehicles were targeted close to a Shabaab military base," a Somali resident in the region said.

With the statement, Kenya retracted its earlier claim that the alleged mastermind of the Garissa University shootings in which 148 people were killed, was among the dead militants.

Al Shabab militants had raided the Kenyan university campus in April, killing mostly students.

The US has often launched air strikes on the group’s location in recent years in a bid to destabilise and exterminate the group’s top militants.

"It was a US drone. Kenyan forces usually provide ground support, information and intelligence on such strikes," said Kenyan interior minister.

They managed to kill the group’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in September of 2014 with a drone strike.

Telecommunications network in the area was barred after the attack, thus a response from Shabab commanders or officials were not obtained.

Al Shabab are a militant group in Somalia that carry out suicide bombings and attacks against the Somali Federal Government, African Union peacekeepers, embassies and non-governmental aid organisations. It has frequently slaughtered women and children.

In 2014, Al Shabab were estimated to have a strength of roughly 7,000 to 9,000 militants.

Al Shabab have been designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates as well as NATO.

In 2013 Al Shabab started its campaign against neighbouring Kenya to force it to withdraw from AMISOM.


TRTWorld and agencies