The Kenyan military on Thursday announced that it has killed 51 suspected al-Shabab militants a few kilometers from Bardera region in southeastern Somalia.
“Over 30 were killed, among them most-wanted terrorists”, Kenyan Interior Ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka said.
Al-Shabab is responsible for carrying out a series of deadly attacks on civilians, government troops and African Union forces across Somalia and in Kenya.
Njoka retracted an earlier statement, which had listed Mohamed Kuno alias Gamadhere, who is said to have masterminded the April Garissa University College attack as among the dead.
One security official who has refused to be named confirmed that at least two key commanders were killed in the airstrike, identifying their names as Ismael Jamhad and Jama Dheere. “Kenyan forces usually provide ground support, information and intelligence on such strikes”, he told AFP.
The United States has in recent years launched numerous drone strikes against Shabaab leaders, including a strike last September that killed the group’s leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Heightened offensive by the U.S. and KDF against al Shabaab comes just a week before American President Barack Obama visits Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be stage in Nairobi.
The strike took place in the early hours of Thursday.
Local residents said the strike targeted a stronghold of Al- Shabaab.
He said Jungal was one of the main “al-Shabaab” planning and operations bases in Gedo region which has seen an increase in militia activities recently.
Up north, Malian troops killed several jihadists near the country’s southern border with Ivory Coast and destroyed the insurgents’ camp in a forest straddling the frontier, several Malian military officials said.