18:54 GMT30 September 2020
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    US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced on Thursday it had carried out an airstrike against an al-Shabaab militant in Somalia.

    According to a Thursday news release, a US strike in Kurtun Warey, a town in the Lower Shabelle region southwest of the capital of Mogadishu, killed a terrorist known for making improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

    AFRICOM said the terrorist was planning to place the devices on a public road. The command said one terrorist was killed in the strike and a motorcycle was destroyed, but that it judged no civilians to have been injured or killed by the attack.

    However, AFRICOM's methods for calculating potential or actual civilian casualties resulting from its airstrikes have repeatedly been called into question by activist groups like Amnesty International. Repeated exposes by the group have forced AFRICOM to commit to quarterly reviews of its actions and to present reports on civilian casualties.

    The US justifies its undeclared war in Somalia under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which gave the Pentagon broad permission to carry the fight to al-Qaeda and groups coordinating with al-Qaeda in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

    The Trump administration has dramatically quickened the tempo of the undeclared war in Somalia. In the first seven months of 2020 alone, the US carried out more drone strikes in the East African nation than under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations combined, according to an August 14 report by Time. By the end of July, the US had carried out 43 airstrikes in Somalia, as compared to 42 strikes between 2007 and 2017.

    A report published last week by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) revealed that private security contractors operating out of Kenya's Camp Simba, near the Kenyan-Somali border, are part of the "kill chain" in US drone strikes in Somalia. The report revealed the contractors operate a surveillance aircraft out of the base used for pinpointing targets and following up after attacks, but also that they fly some of the drones themselves.

    In an attack on a Mogadishu hotel on Sunday, more than 10 people were killed and more than 30 injured by bombs planted by al-Shabaab, and in a Monday assault on a Somali military base by the group, eight people were killed.

    Related:

    AFRICOM: ‘No Pause’ in Fighting Al-Shabaab Despite 5-Week Halt in Somalia Airstrikes
    Pentagon Using Private Contractors in Kenya to Help Launch Drone Strikes Into Somalia, Probe Finds
    US Selectively Omits ‘Complicity’ in Libyan War While ‘Angling’ Against Russia, China in Africa
    Tags:
    airstrike, US Africa Command (AFRICOM), al-Shabaab, Somalia
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