NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The U.S. Africa Command (Africom) on
Monday denied conducting air strikes against Al-Shabaab in
southwest Somalia on Saturday in which more than 100 militants
including 20 commanders were killed.
Africom, which has
in the past conducted counter-terrorism airstrikes against the
terror group in Somalia, said its most recent strike in the Horn
of Africa nation was conducted in January.
"The U.S. military did not conduct any kind of kinetic action
in that area during the timeframe referenced. The most recent
U.S. strike in Somalia was conducted in January," Africom said
in a statement.
According to Africom, Washington routinely works with allies
and partners in coordinated efforts to address regional security
and stability matters.
"We appreciate the Federal Government of Somalia partnership
and its support in our collective efforts to address security
and stability in the region.
"An example of this cooperation is the recent start of a
logistics training program," it said.
The U.S. military said a few dozen troops from the 101st
Airborne Division will conduct various security cooperation and
security force assistance events in Somalia at the request of
the Somalia government.
"The objective of this particular train and equip mission is
to improve the logistical capacity of the Somali National Army,
and the focus will be on teaching basic logistics operations,
which will allow Somalia forces to better fight Al-Shabaab,"
The U.S. soldiers will join the small number of U.S. special
operations forces already there providing counterterrorism
support to local forces battling Al-Shabaab.
Residents including security officers said on Saturday that
the warplanes targeted the militants’ hideouts in Wargaduud and
El-Adde where some Kenyan soldiers were killed by the militants
in January 2016.
Among senior Al-Shabaab commanders killed in the Saturday’s
dawn attack are Abdirahman Fillow and Abdirahman Ben Dutie.
The air strikes also destroyed two vehicles bound explosive
devices (VBIED) at Wargaduud. Dutie is from Marehanrer Dalal
The U.S. maintains a small force unit of about 50 troops in
Somalia mainly to advise and assist Somalia and AMISOM troops
battling Al-Shabaab militants.
Though they are not in Somalia to conduct combat operations,
when called in, their helicopters, drones and manned aircraft
are available for quick reaction air strikes.
Air Strikes killing 100 Al-Shabaab Militants in Southern