US says strike killed 27 Shabaab militants in Horn of Africa
At least 27 al-Shabaab militants were killed in a US airstrike in Somaliland, the US military said on Monday, the second strike to hit the Horn of Africa in three days.
The latest strike occurred on Saturday about 26 miles (42 kilometers) southwest of Bosasso port in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region.
A statement from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) gave no further details of the operation but said it was carried out in coordination with Somalia's government.
On Friday, AFRICOM said a US airstrike had killed 12 militants from al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) southwest of Mogadishu on Thursday.
The Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, to the south.
Somali commandos often carry out operations side-by-side with the American forces that train them. Air assaults and missile strikes have increased in recent months.
This was the 12th American strike against the Shabaab since the beginning of the year.
US forces also partner with the United Nations-backed African Union Mission in Somalia which has about 21,600 troops in the country.
In May, the AFRICOM said it was reviewing a Somali-led raid after locals reported that five civilians had been shot dead.
"We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties resulting from this operation, and we take these reports seriously," AFRICOM said in a statement.
"Africa Command will review any information it has about the incident, including any relevant information provided by third parties."
US forces, in an advise-and-assist capacity, partnered with Somali forces in a raid targeting Islamic al-Qaeda militants aligned with the Shabaab group.
Ali Mohamed Moalin, a traditional elder close to Afgoye in Lower Shabelle where the raid took place, said "two military helicopters" were involved as well as "some foreign special forces".
"There are five dead bodies of innocent farmers who have been killed by the special forces last night," Moalin said.
Different Islamist groups are active in Puntland, including one that split from the Shabaab in 2016 pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Somaliland declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognised by any country.