The U. S. drone strikes against the Al Shabaab in Somalia are “eradicating” these jihadist militants, said the head of the African Union mission in the country (Amisom) on Friday.
The United States has stepped up its operations in Somalia in recent weeks, significantly accelerating the pace of its UAV attacks against the Al Shabaab and Islamic state jihadists.
“These drones attacks, in particular, are wiping out the Al-Shabaab in large numbers. And it is a good thing to put an end to terrorism in this way,” said the African Union Special Representative in Somalia, Francisco Madeira, on the sidelines of the AU summit in Addis Ababa.
In recent months, U. S. Special Forces and Somali soldiers have killed dozens of armed Islamists in air strikes and fighting on the ground.
Thirteen Al-Shabaab “terrorists” were killed in an air strike in southern Somalia on the morning of 24 December 2017, according to US military authorities.
By the end of March 2017, U. S. President Donald Trump had extended the powers given to the U. S. military to launch anti-terrorist operations by air or land in the Horn of Africa, giving it greater decision-making autonomy.
The Al-Shabaab, affiliated with Al Qaeda, have been trying since 2007 to overthrow the fragile central Somali government. The international community and the more than 20,000 African Union forces from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia has helped resist the militants.
Deployed in 2007 to support the very fragile central Somali government, the Amisom is expected to leave the country by the end of 2020, after transferring all its security prerogatives to the Somali army. But Francisco Madeira did not rule out an extension of the mission’s mandate.
“The establishment of a comprehensive and effective Somali national army could take longer than expected, he said.
The Amisom has already begun to withdraw at the end of 2017 a thousand of its 22,000 soldiers, but the embryo of the Somali National Army, poorly equipped and disorganized, has not yet demonstrated its ability to ensure peace, despite the training provided by several foreign countries.