Somalia’s government says 43 Al Shabaab militants, including two senior commanders, were killed by Somali National Army forces during a weekend airstrike about 14 kilometres from the Jamame District in the Lower Juba region.
“The airstrike successfully eliminated key Al Shabaab leaders Aden Abdirahman Aden and Idris Abdirahim Nur, who was of Kenyan national origin, and a total of 43 Al Shabaab fighters,” the Somali National News Agency (Sonna) reported on Monday.
Sonna said the attack, carried out by “Somalia’s international partners”, happened on Friday as the militants and their commanders gathered to plan attacks against government soldiers at the Barsanguni military base, which is home to the Somali National Army and local forces.
The statement did not specify the foreign partner that conducted the airstrike, but often, US Africa Command drones carry out attacks on Somali militant targets.
“The successful disruption of this planned attack demonstrates the effectiveness of the ongoing efforts to combat Al Shabaab and protect the people of Somalia,” the statement added.
The news comes as Somalia’s Council of Ministers nominated Brigadier General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhyadin Addow as the new commander of the Somali National Army.
A spokesman for the Somali Defence Ministry said the appointment follows a proposal to remove General Odawa Yusuf, who has held the position since March 2019.
“General Addow brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He has previously held various military positions, including Commander of the National Presidential Guard Brigade,” the nomination statement said.
These military developments come at a time when the army, with the help of forces from neighbouring countries, is up for the second phase of an offensive against Al Shabaab.