US Airstrike Kills at Least 52 in Southern Somalia

Officials say all slain were al-Shabaab militants

Following reported al-Shabaab attacks on a pair of southern Somalia army bases, the US carried out an airstrike against a target in Jilib, near the site of the attacks, and is claiming to have killed 52 people, all described as “al-Shabaab extremists.

If confirmed, this is the deadliest US strike in Somalia since October. The US has been escalating attacks against targets inside Somalia since President Trump took office, and those strikes seem to remain on the upswing.

Though the initial assumption was that the strike was connected to the recent al-Shabaab attack in neighboring Kenya, the Africom statement makes clear this was direct retaliation for the strikes on the Somali military bases, not for the Nairobi incident.

Al-Shabaab issued its own statement on those attacks, claiming to have killed at least 41 Somali soldiers in the course of raiding two bases near the port city of Kismayo. Somalia has not commented on the casualties.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of