US strike may have killed al-Shabab leader
An attack by "US military forces" may have killed the Somali terrorist leader of al-Shabab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, according to sources in Somalia.
Godane was in a car that was the target of a drone strike. It's unknown whether he survived.
Al-Shabab's top leader was traveling in one of two vehicles hit Monday night in a U.S. military strike, a member of the Somali Islamic extremist group said Tuesday.
The spokesman would not say whether al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was among the six militants killed.
The two vehicles were heading toward the coastal town of Barawe, al-Shabab's main base, when they were hit, Abu Mohammed told The Associated Press.
U.S. military forces attacked the extremist al-Shabab network in Somalia Monday, the Pentagon said. A witness in Somalia described ground-shaking explosions in a strike that reportedly targeted the group's leader.
Al-Shabab attacked the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing at least 67 people a year ago this month and the U.S. targeted planners of the bloody assault. U.S. commanders were waiting to determine the attack's outcome.
"U.S. military forces conducted an operation in Somalia today against the al-Shabaab network. We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate," said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.
After the U.S. strike in a forest south of Mogadishu, masked Islamic militants in the area arrested dozens of residents they suspected of spying for the U.S. and searched nearby homes, a resident said.
"Mass arrests just started, everyone is being detained," said Mohamed Ali, who lives in Sablale district. "They even searched nearby jungles and stopped the nomads transporting milk and grass to the towns for questioning."
A senior Somali intelligence official said a U.S. drone targeted Godane as he left a meeting of the group's top leaders. Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, is the group's spiritual leader under whose direction the Somali militants forged an alliance with al-Qaida. In 2012 the U.S. offered a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to his arrest.
The Somali official, speaking on condition of anonymity since he was not authorized to speak to the media, said intelligence indicated Godane "might have been killed along with other militants." The official said the attack took place 105 miles (170 kilometers) south of Mogadishu, where al-Shabab trains its fighters.
The way the Pentagon is reporting the attack, it appears that more than a couple of cars were hit, but they're reluctant to include details about any special operations on the ground because our guys are probably still in the area.
Going after the leader of these terrorists is fine, but we should be doing more to help the Somali government fight these thugs. Somalia is a basket case but the situation won't improve until the government can show it can protect the people from al-Shabab. Right now, the terrorists are operating with impunity and is able to terrorize the population at will, as evidenced by their security sweep after the attack.
The same could be said for helping Nigeria battle Boko Haram, who just swept through a town murdering "scores." Since hashtag diplomacy proved to be an utter failure, maybe we should try something else.