Somalia’s al-Shabab: Ahmed Abdi Godane ‘targeted by US’

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The US military has carried out air strikes in Somalia, reportedly targeting a convoy carrying the leader of militant group al-Shabab.

It is not clear if Ahmed Abdi Godane was hit in the strikes some 240km (150 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu.

An al-Shabab source told the BBC at least nine people were killed. The al-Qaeda-linked group has not commented officially on the attack.

US officials say they will release further details later.

The US has carried out several air strikes in recent years in Somalia where al-Shabab controls many central and southern areas.

African leaders have met in neighbouring Kenya, where they agreed to collaborate in intelligence gathering and galvanising resources to fight terrorism and violent extremism on the continent.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said acts of terror by Boko Haram and others who share their ideology were the biggest threat to regional stability.

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A US official quoted by the American media said “a senior al-Shabab operative” had been targeted but did not name him.

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” Pentagon spokesman John F Kirby said in a statement.

Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, governor of Lower Shabelle Region, who is with the advancing forces, told the BBC that the attack was successful.

“US drones managed to hit the representative of al-Qaeda in Somalia, who is also the leader of al-Shabab, Ahmed Godane,” he told the BBC Somali service.

“We can tell that a senior figure from the group was killed due to the way they reacted after the attack, as they have started committing atrocities in the area, they have beheaded some of the people who had mobile phones and arrested many others [accused of spying].”

The al-Shabab source said that either nine or 10 people had died in the strike.

He said it said unlikely that Godane was hit as he avoided the coast region and never travelled in a convoy – precautionary measures he took a long time ago.

Residents of Hawai village, roughly half-way between Mogadishu and Kismayo, say they heard three loud explosions and then saw thick black smoke rising.

They say it targeted a convoy of three lorries and smaller vehicle.

One nomad told the BBC he had seen the burnt-out remains of three vehicles but al-Shabab fighters prevented him from seeing if there were any bodies inside.

The US military has carried out air strikes in Somalia, reportedly targeting a convoy carrying the leader of militant group al-Shabab.

It is not clear if Ahmed Abdi Godane was hit in the strikes some 240km (150 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu.

An al-Shabab source told the BBC at least nine people were killed. The al-Qaeda-linked group has not commented officially on the attack.

US officials say they will release further details later.

The US has carried out several air strikes in recent years in Somalia where al-Shabab controls many central and southern areas.

African leaders have met in neighbouring Kenya, where they agreed to collaborate in intelligence gathering and galvanising resources to fight terrorism and violent extremism on the continent.

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said acts of terror by Boko Haram and others who share their ideology were the biggest threat to regional stability.

map

A US official quoted by the American media said “a senior al-Shabab operative” had been targeted but did not name him.

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate,” Pentagon spokesman John F Kirby said in a statement.

Abdikadir Mohamed Nur, governor of Lower Shabelle Region, who is with the advancing forces, told the BBC that the attack was successful.

“US drones managed to hit the representative of al-Qaeda in Somalia, who is also the leader of al-Shabab, Ahmed Godane,” he told the BBC Somali service.

“We can tell that a senior figure from the group was killed due to the way they reacted after the attack, as they have started committing atrocities in the area, they have beheaded some of the people who had mobile phones and arrested many others [accused of spying].”

The al-Shabab source said that either nine or 10 people had died in the strike.

He said it said unlikely that Godane was hit as he avoided the coast region and never travelled in a convoy – precautionary measures he took a long time ago.

Residents of Hawai village, roughly half-way between Mogadishu and Kismayo, say they heard three loud explosions and then saw thick black smoke rising.

They say it targeted a convoy of three lorries and smaller vehicle.

One nomad told the BBC he had seen the burnt-out remains of three vehicles but al-Shabab fighters prevented him from seeing if there were any bodies inside.