U.S. Africa Command has conducted fourteen airstrikes since August bringing the year’s total to eighteen. The increased tempo of airstrikes started in September between the Kismayo and Mogadisu region.
U.S. Africa Command has released data on 18 strikes this year, more than four times the average over the previous seven years.
The escalation of U.S. Africa Command presence in Somalia was made possible by president Trump’s order in March that ”allows the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct lethal action against al-Shabaab within a geographically-defined area of active hostilities in support of partner forces in Somalia.”
Defense One outlines a majority of the airstrikes have been situated around Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia where a mixture of Al-Shabab attack zones and support zones reside.
Back in October, Al-Shabab blew up a truck bomb in the capital killing 300 making it one of the nation’s worst terrorist attack ever. The devastating bombing was in response to President Trump and Somalia’s newly elected president forming new military efforts to combat the rise in Islamic State-linked fighters in the country.
Drones have been responsible for most of the airstrikes and what the report states it’s impossible to verify how many ‘extremist’ have been killed.
Defense One notes,
The Bureau for Investigative Journalism estimates that the strikes have killed as few as 88 people and as many as 124. The group also says it has tracked nearly 30 strikes for 2017, about a dozen more than the Pentagon claims.
Micah Zenko, a writer at foreignpolicy.com, outlines (dated Nov 09) that in 5+ months Trump has bombed Somalia 17 times verse Obama bombed Somalia 29 times in 7+years. The explanation for Trump’s rapid bombardment is the geographical spread of strikes in the country is much larger, plus he authorized a new enemy back in March – ISIS.
Earlier this year, the US military reported about 50 US troops were stationed in Somalia providing training and advice for the Somali military, but as of lately the figure now stands at 500.
Before President Trump, the US military has always maintained a small presence in the region. Now it seems with the geographical spread larger and a new enemy in the region defined; the endless wars will most certainly continue further enriching the US-military industrial complex.
Featured image is from Zero Hedge.