US AFRICOM Disputes Role in Somali Military Operation

The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has denied any involvement in a recent military operation in the Calmadow Mountains of Somalia’s Sanaag region. This clarification was made in response to an inquiry from VOA.

On May 26, the Somali government announced that its National Army, with help from international partners, conducted an airstrike in the Calmadow Mountains, killing over 20 al-Shabaab militants, including three key leaders. Somali State TV reported that the strike targeted militants who were planning an attack and injured several others.

However, the Puntland administration quickly challenged this claim. Puntland’s Minister of Information, Mohamud Ayidi Dirir, stated that Puntland forces are in control of the area and that the federal government does not have the capacity to carry out such operations there. He acknowledged that explosions occurred but denied that the federal government was behind them.

In a statement, the Puntland Ministry of Information refuted the federal government’s report and emphasized that Puntland is capable of managing its own security. They reaffirmed their commitment to eliminating terrorist groups in the region.

Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Information, Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Addaala, had earlier asserted that the federal government, supported by international partners, launched the attack aimed at top al-Shabaab leaders in Puntland. He mentioned that al-Shabaab militants had regrouped in eastern Puntland after facing defeats in other regions like Galmudug and Hirshabelle.

The differing accounts from the federal government and Puntland highlight the complexities and challenges of counterterrorism efforts in Somalia, leaving the situation ambiguous.

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