An airstrike conducted by US forces in Somalia killed an Al-Shabaab operative who has been reportedly on run after being put on black books by KDF and allied forces.
US has been executing joint operations with AMISOM troops in several towns that are reportedly under Al-Shabaab control with an aim of destroying their income generation activities.
Tuesday's strike aimed at the militant, whose details were not immediately released by the forces, but he's accused of organising several successful attacks.
"US military reports new airstrike in Jilib town area killing one Al-Shabaab most wanted militant. @USAfricaCommand didn’t identify the individual target in the latest airstrike on Sept 3," reports indicate.
For years now, the militants have resorted to collection of taxes from locals after their channels, especially illegal charcoal and sugar trade, was shut down by KDF in Kismayo.
Of the six states in Somalia, Al-Shabaab has considerable grip at Jubbaland, Southwest and with minimal following at Puntland and Somaliland.
Businessmen are reportedly intimidated to pay taxes, failure to which, they face death threats. So connected they are perhaps due their intelligence network, that they even know the size of someone's business.
The growth of al-Shabab’s tax revenue stands at odds with the federal government’s claims that the insurgency is on its back foot — and in sharp contrast to the U.S. military’s claims that its operations in Somalia are weakening the insurgency.
A spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, John D. Manley, said in an emailed statement that the U.S. military targets al-Shabab’s “financial and collection operations” with airstrikes.
He acknowledged that the militant group is “generally successful using threats and violence to intimidate clans and locals into paying taxes.”
Last week, United Nations dismissed Kenya's request to have Al-Shabaab listed as a terrorists group. Both Somalia and US insist that such a move will water gains security forces have made.