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U.S. military strikes near Kanjaron village on Monday killed four al-Shabab militants including a former commander, military sources tell VOA Somalia.

Airstrikes outside the village killed the former commander and three others

Somali military sources identified the former commander as Bashir Dhere, a former al-Shabab deputy militia commander in the Lower Jubba region.

Sources say he most recently operated in an Al-Shabab-controlled area west of Kismayo, though it is unclear where he ranked within the terror network.

In a statement, US AFRICOM said the four were killed in ‘self-defense’ airstrikes after extremists attacked Somali troops and their U.S. advisers outside the port of Kismayo.

The strikes took place in an area that has seen increased confrontations between Somali and AU forces supported by U.S. personnel.

AFRICOM insists the U.S. role is just advisory.

Recent operations in the area appear to be an effort aimed at giving Somali, AU forces a real practical experience in carrying out and fighting commando operations against militant forces, military sources say.

These operations targeted taxation checkpoints and lower profile al-Shabab militants.

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