Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has quashed the assertions made by the extremist group al-Shabab, which claimed it had inflicted casualties on U.S. troops in an attack on the outskirts of Kismayo, a southern coastal city in Somalia.
“The claims of casualties are not accurate,” stated Kelly Cahalan, AFRICOM spokesperson, dismissing the group’s assertions via the messaging app Telegram.
She revealed on Thursday that the convoy struck a roadside bomb that morning near Kismayo but insisted that neither the U.S. nor the Somali forces sustained any casualties.
History of al-Shabab’s false claims
It’s worth highlighting that al-Shabab, waging a relentless war for control, has had an extensive track record of unfounded claims of injuring or killing U.S. troops.
While they have occasionally successfully targeted U.S. forces in Somalia and nearby regions, their claims often far outweigh the reality.
Their most notable attack occurred on January 5, 2020, when al-Shabab insurgents overran an airfield in Kenya utilized by U.S. forces for operations in Somalia.
The offensive resulted in the death of a U.S. soldier and two American contractors.
Three months before this tragic incident, U.S. forces stationed at the Baledogle Military Airfield in Somalia also came under a ferocious al-Shabab assault.
This was the largest such onslaught on American troops in Somalia in three decades, involving a truck bomb that left a 20-foot-deep crater along the perimeter of a U.S. military outpost.
However, this battle saw a dozen al-Shabab fighters killed as the U.S. forces managed to repel the attack without any loss of life.
The U.S. mission in Somalia
The U.S. military’s role in Somalia, primarily focused on training and advising local forces fighting against al-Shabab, has been a matter of dispute within the Defense Department and more broadly.
It’s worth mentioning that several hundred U.S. troops are currently operating in the country, supported by periodic U.S. airstrikes against terrorist targets.
In May 2022, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s late administration decision to withdraw 700 service members from the country, the U.S. announced the return of special operations troops to Somalia.