US drone ‘kills 150 Somali militants’

A file photo taken on February 17, 2011 shows Islamist fighters loyal to Somalia's al-Qaeda inspired al-Shabab group performing military drills at a village in Lower Shabelle region, some 25km outside Mogadishu

A US drone strike has killed more than 150 al-Shabab militants in Somalia, the Pentagon says.

Spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the strike hit a training camp where a “large-scale” attack was being planned.

“We know they were going to be departing the camp and they posed an imminent threat to US and [African Union] forces,” Captain Davis said.

“Initial assessments are that more than 150 terrorist fighters were eliminated,” he added.

Mr Davis said the strike, on Saturday, targeted a camp about 120 miles (195km) north of the capital, Mogadishu.

The camp had been under surveillance for some time, according to Mr Davis.

“There was a sense that the operational phase was about to happen,” he said.

Somalia map

He said the group had neared the completion of specialist training to conduct “offensive operations”, but did not give any details about the alleged plans.

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, was pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 but has continued to launch frequent attacks in its bid to overthrow the Western-backed government.

New questions for African force in Somalia

Who are al-Shabab?

The group has said it carried out a string of recent attacks including a twin bombing at a busy restaurant in the Somali city of Baidoa last month.

Also on Monday, the Australian navy said it had seized a huge cache of weaponson a fishing boat off the coast of Oman that was apparently heading for Somalia.

Grenade launchers, machine guns, and 2,000 assault rifles were concealed under fishing nets, a Navy spokesman said.


Major al-Shabab attacks in 2016

28 February – on a restaurant and busy junction in Baidoa killing at least 30 people

26 February – on Mogadishu’s SYL hotel killing nine people

21 January – on a restaurant at Mogadishu’s Lido beach killing 20 people

15 January – on a Kenyan base in el-Ade that Somalia’s president said killed at least 180 soldiers

 

[Source:- BBC]