43 Soldiers Dead In Airstrike

43 Al Shabaab militants were killed last week after Somali National Army forces conducted an airstrike about nine miles from the Jamame District in the Lower Juba region, according to The East African. The deceased included two senior commanders,  Aden Abdirahman Aden and Idris Abdirahim Nur, according to the Somali National News Agency (Sonna). 

The airstrike was conducted by “international partners” after militants were reportedly preparing to attack soldiers at Barsanguni military base. While the international partner was not named, it is known that the U.S. Africa Command assists with drone strikes against militants. 

The statement by the Somali government says that the measures taken against al-Shabaab is to protect its people. Al-Shabaab is a Sunni Islamist military and political organization which forged ties with al-Qaeda in 2012. 

The group is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks on Somalian people. One of its deadliest attacks occurred when they rushed into a shopping mall in Nairobi, killing at least 65 people. In 2015, the group killed more than 140 people in Kenya during a raid. 

The news comes after the latest attack on June 20 when militants allegedly killed five Somalians in a Kenyan border village. The killings are added to a growing death toll in the last month, which is currently at more than 30 people, including police officers, soldiers, and civilians. 

The militants, which totaled around 30, set homes on fire and stole food after slitting the throats of four and shooting another at point-blank range. The village reportedly borders the Witu Forest, an area that serves as a safe zone for the militants to hide and hold those that they abduct. 

Last week Kenyan President William Ruto suggested that troops may remain in Somalia into July in an effort to send al-Shabaab a message that they will not win.