US army says it killed 13 al-Shabab fighters in Somalia

At least 13 fighters, part of the armed al-Shabab group, have been killed in an airstrike outside the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the US army said.

The airstrike happened in Gandarshe, 48km south of Mogadishu, on Friday, US Africom said in a statement on Saturday. 

“To support the Federal Government of Somalia’s continued efforts to degrade al-Shabab, US Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting al-Shabab fighters in the vicinity of Gandarshe, Lower Shebelle Region, Somalia, on February 1, 2019,” the statement said.

“US Africa Command currently assesses this airstrike killed thirteen (13) militants. At this time, it was assessed no civilians were injured or killed in this airstrike.”

This is the 10th US airstrike this year in the Horn of Africa country. Last year, it carried out at least 48 strikes in Somalia, killing more than 330 fighters, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Al-Shabab is an al-Qaeda-linked armed group fighting to overthrow the country’s western-backed government. The group regularly stages attacks against the Somali military and against troops from the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM. 

On Thursday, an airstrike by the US army killed 24 al-Shabab fighters in neighbouring Hiran region.

On Saturday, an al-Shabab suicide bomber detonated an explosive-laden vehicle at a checkpoint manned by Ethiopian troops in the southern town of Bardhere.

Local security officials told AFP news agency that four Ethiopian troops were killed in the blast.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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