Reports from Lower Juba region indicate that airstrikes, suspected to be US drones or planes, hit three al-Shabaab militant training camps on the outskirts of Afmadow district, 100 kilometers southwest of Kismayo, on Wednesday, according to local residents and confirmed by a government official. Residents in Afmadow told terror free somalia that they could hear blasts early on Wednesday. Shortly thereafter, insurgents prevented residents from moving throughout the city, particularly in area of the incident, as their own vehicles raced throughout Afmadow.“Early in the morning and before the sunrise, we heard more than five heavy blasts not far from the town. We believe it was an airstrike,” said a resident in Afmadow on condition of anonymity. “Minutes later, we saw three military vehicles traveling at a high rate of speed to Kismayo. We believe they were carrying victims of the attack," he added.“In the last days there have been problems within the militia. They have lost confidence. Everyone who crosses near their bases is suspected of spying. They have arrested many people, some of them were released after we identified them as residents. The others, however, are still in the hands of al-Shabaab,” he said.Somali Deputy Defense Minister Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig spoke to a pro-government FM radio station in Mogadishu and said that the government was aware of the attack. “The airstrike hit three al-Shabab bases between Afmadow and Dhobley. They targeted foreign terrorist elements, which were hiding in the area. All in all the airplanes fulfilled their aim,” Hidig said. “The foreigners and senior officials of the terrorist group are afraid. They are secretly hide amongst the civilians. The airstrikes will continue until we minimize the enemy from our country,” he added. Dr. Omar Ahmed, an academic and Somali politician, told local radio Report that airstrikes targeting al-Shabaab will only serve to increase the local support of the militants. “There is no reason for the western countries to use airstrikes against al-Shabaab. It will only increase the generations supporting al-Shabaab,” he said. “For example, when the Americans killed Aden Eyrow, the capability of al-Shabaab was very low. From that day forward, the militia increased in size day-after-day. They recruited many youths, persuading them that infidels attacked their country and want to capture it.“Last month, airstrikes were conducted against al-Shabaab targets in Kismayo and Lower Juba by pro-Somali government partner countries.The US has a history of using drones against terrorist targets, most recently in Somalia. For an in-depth analysis of this tactic, please see our story "Enter the Drones."
Somali’s most powerful insurgent group, Al Qaeda linked al-Shabaab, admitted that they are continuing to lose momentum against Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union peacekeeping (AMISOM) forces in areas of Mogadishu. Speaking on a pro-al-Shabaab radio station, insurgent leader Ahmed Abdi Godane (Abu Zubeir) said his fighters had been killed in the crossfire between AMISOM troops and the militants fighting in Mogadishu.“Several of our overall commanders, senior officials, and intelligence officers were killed and many others injured in Mogadishu and other places. I believe these are the most important people in our group,” Godane said. Whether or not the "other places" include Kismayo and Lower Juba where recent airstrikes have targeted al-Shabaab camps in Afmadow iyo Dhoobley area. TFG forces, supported by AMISOM troops, have advanced in a rapid offensive to secure several parts of Mogadishu after weeks of extensive joint operations killing dozens al-Shabaab militants, including the strategic Bakara Market.“I am so worried to see our fighters surrender in the fighting,The leader of Al-Shabad Terrorist Ahmed Godane said. “We all know that some people who claim to be in our group are betraying us by spying and sharing secrets with our enemy.”Top leaders of al-Shabaab have been embroiled in new dispute over the group’s military strategy and have been losing support in recent months, despite attempts to regain popularity.A senior al-Shabaab official accused Godane of waging wars without permission, which were not part of the overall strategy. At least nine of senior Al-Shabab members may have been killed in U.S air bombardment in southern Somalia on July 3, sources told terror free somalia. U.S officials admitted air raid in Kandala village, at least 10-km west of Kismayo on July 3 which U.S officials identified that the target was senior Al-Shabab operatives in Somalia.But on Wednesday unnamed residents in Kismayo town told local Radio that he saw Al-Shabab fighters digging graves and burring bodies of their killed members.“Young Al-Shabab men were digging graveyards near Kismayo. I saw them while I was keeping guard my cattle”. Resident told local Radio with anonymity condition because of security matters.Last week western media reported that U.S. military forces landed in Somalia to retrieve the bodies of dead or wounded militants after a U.S. drone strike targeted a group of insurgents near Kismayo town.But the sources did not confirm that the group got all their deceased bodies.At the same time reports say that Al-Shabab’s number-two operative, Ibrahim Afghan (but known as Abubakar A-Zaili’i) had been reportedly killed in the raid. Several fighters were also injured in the raid and were being treated in Kismayo hospital. On Tuesday Kenyan officials placed high security alert after the police found reports of injured Al-Qaeda senior officer Bilal El Berjawi, traveled to the country for medical treatment source
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