Hoping to capture a high-profile target, Somali forces hopped off helicopters a couple of miles (kilometers) from an al-Shabab-controlled town, slipped through the dark and got into a fierce firefight that reportedly killed more than 10 Islamic extremists, US and Somali officials said.
U.S. forces were serving in an advisory role and provided the helicopter transportation for the mission, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman. The U.S. forces accompanied the Somali troops on the mission, but did not “go all the way to the objective,” he said.
A Somali intelligence official told The Associated Press that the person they wanted to get was apparently killed during the fight.
“It was a high-profile target, and chances of capture were challenged by a stiff resistance by militants guarding the house targeted by the special forces, which forced the commando to resort to the kill or capture method,” the official said. He spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press on the matter.
Another Somali intelligence official provided a similar account to AP. The exact target of the raid, if any, remains unclear.
The spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, Col. Mark Cheadle, said the U.S. forces got out of the aircraft but “stayed in a safe area to observe the actions on the objective.”
He said the U.S. forces did not fire their weapons during the mission. He said the Somali troops successfully conducted the mission.
There were no U.S. casualties, Davis said.
More than 10 militants were killed, said other U.S. officials Wednesday who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an operation that has not been announced publicly.
Roughly 50 U.S. special operations troops have been operating in Somalia on a rotational basis for the last few years. The raid came only three days after the U.S. carried out an air strike on an al-Shabab training camp that the Pentagon said killed about 150 of its members.
These are some of the most aggressive military actions in Somalia since a U.S. military intervention in the early 1990s during a famine culminated in the so-called Black Hawk Down battle, with heavy U.S. losses.
For its part, al-Shabab said its fighters had foiled the overnight attack on Awdhegle town in southern Somalia, and that the raiders retreated with casualties.
Residents of Awdhegle described bullet-pockmarked walls blackened from explosions after the attack.
“Al-Shabab fighters cordoned off the area in the morning and made arrests of people suspected to be spies, a resident in the town told AP by phone. He refused to be identified, fearing reprisal by militants.
Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, a spokesman for al-Shabab, told a militant-run online radio that the foreign forces used two helicopters and that one militant was killed.
Mohamed Hassan, an elder in Awdhegle, told The Associated Press that the foreign forces parked their helicopters outside the town and walked at least 3 kilometers (1.9 miles), sneaking into the town to avoid detection by the Islamic fighters and launch a surprise raid.
He said there was gunfire between militants and al-Shabab foot soldiers that started near the police station.
Meanwhile, three police officers and one civilian were killed Wednesday in a suicide car bombing outside a cafe near the police academy in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, said police Gen. Ali Hersi Barre.
There was no claim of responsibility for the blast, but it appeared to be part of attacks waged by al-Shabab, which was ousted from Mogadishu by African Union peacekeepers in 2011.
Somaliland Head To Polls For Councillors And MPs On May 31, 2021 Last updated May 31, 2021
Voters in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland are heading to the polls on May, 31 to choose their member of parliament for the first time since 2005.
Somaliland broke off from mainland Somalia after the regime of Siad Barre in 1991.
The 5.2 Million citizens of Somaliland will be making yet another stab at global recognition as some 1.3 million voters head to the polls to choose 82 members of parliament and 247 local councils.
An election whose measure of democracy Somaliland hopes to use in its quest to certify its sovereignty.
Somaliland’s three political parties in the polls are opposition politicians Faisal Warabe’s UCID, Wadani led by another opposition leader Abdirahman Erye and President Muse Bihi Kulmiye party.
The elections is observed by over a hundred international observers including Uganda’s former opposition leader, Kizza Besigye and ex-president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Korma.
”Our visit to the headquarters of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission left us with a good impression about the Commission’s preparedness to conduct peaceful and credible elections,” said in a Twitter post.
The elections are taking place in six regions of Somaliland, namely Awdal, Sahil, Marodi-Jeeh, Toghdeer, Sanaag and Sool.
3 Somalia Regional States Say No To Farmaajo Term Extension.
The regional state leaders of Southwest, HirShabelle, and Galmudug allied with incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo have opposed to any form of extension on Tuesday evening.
In a joint statement Galmudug and HirShabelle called for dialogue based on 17 September pact.
“We agreed that the country should hold elections as soon as possible and that any form of extension should be abolished,” read part of the joint statement by HirShabelle and Galmudug.
Southwest leader Abdiaziz laftagaren also opposed the term extension of the President just an hour after Galmudug and HirShabelle released a joint statement.
The move by the three regional states allied to President was welcomed by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble who also instructed the military commanders to pull back forces to their locations and barracks.
“I would like to welcome the press statements made by Galmudug and HirShabelle federal states, ” PM Roboe said in a statement.
“I call on the FMS states of Puntland and Jubaland and Benadir region to fully commit to a peaceful process in our efforts to hold free and inclusive election, ” he added.
United Nations, United Kingdom, United States and opposition leaders including former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud commended the move by the regional states.
“The UN in Somalia noting statements by Qoorqqor, Ali Gudlawe, PM Roble and others recalls int’l partners position: consensus is vital for any electoral process; only 17 September model can be endorsed by FGS and all FMS; all parties must reject violence and resume dialogue, ” the United Nations said.
The development comes as families in some parts of Mogadishu fleed from their residences and moved to other district followings clashes.
Somali Gov’t Warns Al-Shabaab & ISIS Will Capitalize On SNA Faction Clashes.
Somali National Security Minister Hassan Hundubey has warned opposition groups to be wary of “unknown elements” including Al-Shabaab and Daesh who might seek to use the current crisis to inflict harm to the public.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday said that the government may take action to confront people with the “behaviour of militias” who are taking advantage of the situation.
“The government has enough troops to take control of the city. It is Ramadan, but more actions need to be taken to prevent it.” mr. Hundebey said.
”The reason the prime minister called for dialogue is that the government does not want the fighting to affect the residence,” he added.
The remarks by the interior minister come hours after the international partners strongly condemned the outbreak of violence in the capital.
“We are alarmed especially by the emerging fragmentation of the Somali National Army along clan lines, which detracts from its primary task of combating Al Shabab and protecting the Somali population. Use of security forces for the pursuit of political objectives is unacceptable” the statement read in part.
As tensions increase in Mogadishu following Sunday clashes between government soldiers and those who were against President Farmaajo’s two years term extension.