While recent reports have had the US looking to dial back its direct military involvement in Africa, US forces are still active on the ground in Somalia, and on Thursday found themselves coming under fire west of the capital city of Mogadishu.
The US responded to this by carrying out an airstrike at what they believed to be an “enemy fighting position,” and reported two killed. The US believes the slain were members of al-Shabaab, but there has been no way to confirm this.
One soldier from the Somalia military was also killed in an exchange of fire, while the US Africom insists that there were no casualties among the Americans. Al-Shabaab confirmed that there was fighting on the ground, but claimed to have killed more.
It’s not clear if the airstrikes even intended to target the same militants who were fighting on the ground, or just some presumptive militant position in the area. Airstrikes as a show of force have been a common tactic for US forces in the region, intended to scare off any combatants in the area with a visible strike.