Al Shabaab leader may be killed in US drone strike
The leader of Somali Al Qaida linked group Al Shabaab may have been killed by US drone strike that hit a convoy of group leaders near the organization strong hold southern port city of Barawe on Tuesday.
Somali intelligence officials said at least four missiles were launched at a convoy of Al-Shabaab senior leaders but US defense department the Pentagon has said it carried out an operation in Somalia, but didn’t give further details.
Two U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak on the record have told US media that Tuesday strike was undertaken because of intelligence showing Godane and his top lieutenants were meeting.
“We had an opportunity that we had been looking for and it presented itself,” one of the officials told CNN.
Mohamed Nur Sidii the governor of the Lower Shabelle province where the attack happened has said Al Shabaab commanders had been meeting in Barawe during the attack on how to stave off a joint offensive by Somali and African Union troops.
“We can’t confirm how many leaders were killed in the attack,” he said.
Godane is one of Al-Shabaab’s founders and has led the group since 2008, when a U.S. airstrike killed then-leader Aden Hashi Ayrow.
If confirmed that Godane is one of the leaders killed in the attack, his death would strike a serious blow to Al-Shabaab operation both inside and outside targets.
Under President Barack Obama administration US has targeted Al-Shabaab leaders in Somalia at least twice in the past year, including an airstrike in January.