Mogadishu (HAN) November 23, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Stability Initiative News. At least eight Al-Shabaab militants were killed in suspected drone strike on a base near Baladul Amin village, 120 kilometers Northwest of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, residents and sources tell VOA Somali voice based in Washington. Geeska Afrika Online reporter in Mogadishu confirmed that report.
Since 2006, the United States government has attacked hundreds of targets in Southern and Central Somalia using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division in East Africa. Most of these attacks are on a terrorist targets Administered by Al-Shabaab Terrorist Areas along the Kenyan and Ethiopian South West Somalia zones.
Sources told VOA that at least three junior Al-Shabaab commanders were among the dead.
Southern Somalia residents said they heard three big explosions when the air-strikes targeted the Al-Shabaab base early on Sunday. Residents also said they believed the strikes were carried out by a U.S. drone but there has been no confirmation yet from the Pentagon.
The U.S. has used drone strikes to attack al-Shabaab leaders in the past, including the group’s supreme leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed in a drone strike in September 2014.
Baladul Amin is near Ballidogle airport, which also serves as a base for Somalia’s special commandos who receive training from U.S. soldiers.
In Pakistan, the US administration have publicly claimed that civilian deaths from the attacks are minimal, but leaked military documents reveal that the vast majority of people killed have not been the intended targets. Surveys have shown that the strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where they have contributed to a negative perception of the United States.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly demanded an end to the strikes, stating: “The use of drones is not only a continual violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve and efforts at eliminating terrorism from our country”.
Drone strikes were halted in November 2011 after NATO forces killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in the Salala incident. Shamsi Airfield was evacuated of Americans and taken over by the Pakistanis December 2011. The incident prompted an approximately two-month stop to the drone strikes, which resumed on 10 January 2012.
Benefit of Drone Strikes to eliminate bad apple: A family in Anantnag district in South Kashmir has claimed that their son, who features in an al-Qaeda propaganda video, was killed in a US drone strike in Waziristan area of Pakistan in January this year. In perhaps first such instance, Nazir Ahmad Dar claimed that his brother, Mohammad Ashraf Dar, was among the six al-Qaeda militants killed in the drone strike. Ashraf alias Umar Kashmiri, who was reported missing by his family in 2001, featured in a video released this week on ’jihadi’ networks by As-Sahab, the media arm of al-Qaeda in Indian subcontinent (AQIS) as part of its series ‘Jihadi Memories’, eulogising its martyrs.
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