The United States conducted an air strike in Somalia killing eight Al-Shabaab fighters on Friday, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a press release today.

In coordination with the Federal government of Somalia, US forces conducted an air strike against the Al-Shabaab group in the early hours of Friday, last week. The strike took place approximately 30 miles northwest of Kismayo, destroying one vehicle.

US assessment of the strike found that “no civilians were killed”.

“US forces will continue to use all authorised and appropriate measures to protect US citizens and to disable terrorist threats. This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) in combined counterterrorism operations and targeting terrorists, their training camps, and their safe havens throughout Somalia and the region,” AFRICOM continued.

In March, President Donald Trump provided the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the US military expansive powers to execute strikes and raids in Somalia with autonomy, considering parts of Somalia “temporary battlefields”.

Late last month, a US air strike killed more than 100 Somalis in Somalia, leading to condemnation by human rights groups because of the lack of transparency over who was targeted.

The number of air strikes in Somalia has spiked in 2017, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, with 32 raids since July. While AFRICOM does not put a number to its official operations in Somalia it has given some detail in recent months of two botched counter-terrorism operations.

One included a US fatality, after American and Somali troops were ambushed on their way to attack their target. The second is when the US killed ten civilians as they ran to hide behind banana trees in a village in the lower Shabelle region.

Despite the uptick in strikes in Somalia, the African Union Mission in Somalia is rescinding its footprint. By the end of the year, 1,000 troops will be withdrawn from Somalia. (MEMO)

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