In a recent press release, AFRICOM, or U.S. Africa Command, reported on a major airstrike targeting militant leaders in North Africa.
“In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike targeting ISIS-Somalia terrorists in the Golis Mountains, Somalia, on May 22, 2019,” read the statement.
The strike in the Golis region marks the fifth attack by American forces on Somalia-based militants over the past month, an effort AFRICOM describes as “a deliberate campaign to limit and disrupt freedom of movement in the area and to eliminate leaders” of various groups.
The first attack in the recent uptick came on 14 April. The assault killed Abdulhakim Dhuqub, the deputy emir of the Islamic State. Two additional offensives targeted Islamic State “encampments” in the Golis Mountains and killed 17 fighters. The most recent strike that took place on the 24th is thought to have killed two Islamic State members, most likely high-ranking ones. Two days earlier, AFRICOM conducted a strike against al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s branch in North Africa. The strike took place in Baled Amin in southern Somalia, and was the 33rd against the group since the beginning of the year. Two Shabaab fighters are estimated to have been killed.
It is important to highlight that America’s armed forces have been putting a strong emphasis on getting serious on African jihadists in the recent period. Branches of both al-Qaeda and ISIS have been slowly but persistently developing in North, West, and East Africa, and have gained substantial footholds in several countries.
Less than a month ago, the Senate confirmed a new commanding officer to AFRICOM, a move that will hopefully bring fresh perspective and innovation to the war against militancy on the continent.