Battling Al-Shabaab: Several militants neutralized near Golis Mountains
And now to Africa where airstrikes in Somalia have targeted militant groups in recent months. Reporting from Mogadishu, CGTN's Abdulaziz Billow tells us how this campaign is changing the country's counter-terrorism efforts.
U.S military has stepped up attacks against pro-Islamic State affiliate and Al-Shabaab militant in northern Somalia with six strikes conducted this month in the mountainous region of Puntland, NE of the country. Close to a dozen militants have been neutralized near Golis Mountains where the two rival factions are battling for control - U.S officials say the strikes are vital and have contained both groups from expanding territorial control in the autonomous region. Hussein Sheikh Ali is a security expert and leads an institute that is analyzing ISIL's increasing footprint in Africa - he argues that the strikes have been effective but more must be done.
HUSSEIN SHEIKH ALI CHAIRMAN, HIRAAL INSTITUTE "They've been somehow contained as far as the raid and attacks they've been conducting on the ground. They are still doing it but in a very limited scope now. It seems the airstrikes have significantly slow down - and forces on the ground should be making more advances on the ground."
The pro ISIL faction is estimated to have less than two hundred fighters, mostly former Al-Shabaab combatants who shifted allegiance - its being led by this Man Abdulkadir Mumin - a former high ranking Al-Shabaab official who fell out with the group in 2016 - both groups have in recent months stepped up attacks in Bossaso, a port city in Puntland that is near the mountains.
HUSSEIN SHEIKH ALI CHAIRMAN, HIRAAL INSTITUTE "They are small and very insignificant impact on the ground - they have the global appeal and also they have been trying to change and make in roads among AS fighters who were most of their fighters - they seem to be constrained and AS have pushed back."
ABDULAZIZ BILLOW MOGADISHU, SOMALIA "The rival factions in Somalia have clashed on several occasions in a move experts term as a fight for financial resources - their main targets include big corporations from which they impose hefty taxes to help sustain their operations."
For now, neither group is winning but its civilians and the business community that continues to suffer in the ongoing insurgency campaign - meanwhile, authorities hope to secure the nation and defeat militant groups - denying them a chance to establish a safe haven in the Horn of Africa. AB, CGTN, MOG – SOM.