Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 4 April 2020

Al Shabab leader Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud killed in air strike in Somalia

In 2008, America issued a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts

Somali government soldiers secure their positions in front of the Dayah hotel after an attack by Al Shabab militants. Reuters
Somali government soldiers secure their positions in front of the Dayah hotel after an attack by Al Shabab militants. Reuters

A senior commander in the East Africa-based militant group Al Shabab has been killed by a US air strike in Somalia, the United States Africa Command (Africom) said.

"Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud was a senior operational leader responsible for exporting terror in Somalia as well as attacks into Kenya," said Africom director of public affairs Colonel Christopher Karns.

"He has been a senior Al Shabab member for more than a decade."

Mahamoud was killed in an air strike on February 22, said Col Karns. He "had a role in planning and directing terrorist operations in Somalia and on the Kenya border region".

He was suspected of being involved in a January 5 attack on the US-Kenyan Manda Bay military base in south-eastern Kenya in which three Americans were killed, Col Karns said.

In 2008, the US offered a $5 million (Dh18.3m) reward for information on the whereabouts of Mahamoud, who used the alias Qorbag.

Africom said on February 25 that a senior Al Shabab leader and his wife were killed in an air strike three days earlier but did not identify them. It said his wife was also an active Al Shabab member.

Somalia's state radio said on Sunday that Mahamoud was killed in the southern town of Sakow, following a joint operation by the Somali army and US military.

Mahamoud had been designated by the US for his links to the terror group. As of 2008, he was one of about 10 members on Al Shabab’s leadership council.

On Saturday, American drones struck Al Shabab targets for the fourth time in just over a week, with the latest strike hitting four suspected members.

General Roger Cloutier, commander of US land forces in Africa, recently declared Al Shabab to be "one of the biggest threats on the continent".

Updated: March 9, 2020 02:22 PM

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