The US military command for Africa (AFRICOM) “carried out an airstrike against Al-Shabaab in the vicinity of Qeycad” in Galmudug province, 300 miles (500 kilometers) north of the capital, Mogadishu, told AFP the Pentagon spokeswoman Cindi King.
The attack was carried out by a drone and there were no US forces on the ground, King said, adding that no further details could be provided.
The attack was the second carried out by the US military in Somalia in a week, and only the second under US President Joe Biden, who took office in January this year.
On Tuesday, AFRICOM targeted Al-Shabaab jihadists near Galkayo, northwest of Qeycad.
As soon as Biden arrived at the White House, he limited the use of drones against jihadist groups outside of American theaters of war.
That reversed the policy of his predecessor Donald Trump, who had given the military carte blanche in countries like Somalia and Libya.
King noted that “US forces are authorized to carry out attacks in support of associated forces designated by the combatant commander under the 2001 AUMF,” referring to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, the authority of which has been entrusted to the presidents. Americans to launch operations against armed Islamist groups. .
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal a 2002 use-of-force measure that gave the U.S. military legal authority to invade Iraq and has since been used to justify military action against groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. .
Supporters of the 2002 AUMF repeal argue that it has long outlived its purpose and that Congress should reclaim its war powers.
No elected official has indicated that there is an immediate plan to reverse the 2001 measure.
Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said last week that AFRICOM commander Gen. Stephen Townsend has “the authority to act in defense of our forces and our Somali partners.”
The recent attacks “underscore the threat that Al Shabaab poses in Somalia, and certainly in the Horn of Africa,” Kirby said.
“That threat is still significant and we will continue to be vigilant.”
Drone strikes had multiplied during Trump’s tenure, from 11 in Somalia in 2015, to 64 in 2019 and 54 in 2020, according to the non-governmental group Airwars, which monitors civilian deaths in bombings around the world.
Just before leaving office, Trump ordered the withdrawal of some 700 special forces soldiers who were deployed to Somalia to train and advise the Somali army.