The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. Military began an operation in Somalia against militants of the Al Shabaab outfit. The report cites Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby as confirming the news. Specific information regarding the nature of the operation and the location have not been revealed yet.
“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.”
The operation against the Al Shabaab has come after reports of escalating violence in the region were confirmed. In the most recent attack carried out by the outfit, a number of Al Shabaab fighters dressed in military uniforms attacked a high security prison in the city of Mogadishu and managed to get in. The attack on the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) prison left two civilians dead. Eighteen people — including three security guards — were also injured in the attack. The aim of the prison attack was to free at least 30 Al Shabaab terrorists who were lodged inside the prison, says a report by CNN. The NISA prison is underground, and is located very close to the Somali presidential palace in Mogadishu.
Al Shabab was attacked by fighters from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and observers are thinking of this as a coordinated attack in collaboration with the U.S. Military. The AMISOM also announced that their forces managed to liberate several towns from the control of Al Shabaab.
In a statement, the AMISOM announced:
“The Somali National Army supported by AMISOM forces have faced little resistance from their advancement as al-Shabaab simply melted away when they heard the aligned forces are approaching.”
Al Shabaab was designated a terrorist organization in 2008 and it is linked to Al Qaeda.
The Al Shabaab group wants to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state, and has managed to mount attacks within Somalia and in other neighboring countries as well. The group also claimed responsibility for the attack on the Westgate mall in Nairobi last September. That attack in Kenya claimed the lives of over 67 people.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]