MOGADISHU, Somalia – When the U.S. military launched its 32nd routing air strike in southern Somalia in April. 2, AFRICOM officials reported the incident in previous ordinary air strikes, noting that “three activists” were killed during the exit.
Incidentally, the air strike was launched almost simultaneously with an Amnesty International complaint, in which the United States was accused of failing to “take into account” dozens of civilian casualties orchestrated by the air strikes.
But four days later, it has now emerged that the Bush Madina raid, 55 kilometers east of the city of Dinsor, an area controlled by Al-Shabaab, claimed the lives of Yusuf Jiis, a senior official of Al-Shabaab.
In a press release, the head of the US Command for Africa, General Stephen Townsend, even admitted that Jiis’ death would make “Somalia and neighboring countries” safer.
“This person was a key leader of the al-Shabab organization,” said U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, commander of the U.S. Command for Africa. “He was violent, ruthless and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives. His deportation makes Somalia and neighboring countries safer.”
Intelligence sources in the southwest state told VOA that the activist was one of the top Al-Shabaab officials in the region, noting that he had been under surveillance for several years. They called his death an “important milestone” in the Al-Shabaab war.
Intelligence services have said that Jiis, whose real name is Yusuf Nur Hassan, was the Al-Shabaab official responsible for dealing with “humanitarian agencies”. He is the face behind the 2009 aid agency raid, reports added.
Previously, the group had targeted aid agencies by blocking Somali civilians in need, behavior that was rampant in 2011 when more than 260,000 people died from drought, VOA reported.
The Jiis, officials said, had worked closely with Hisba, an Al-Shabaab parallel police service, and were reportedly added to the Al-Shabaab advisory council commonly known as Shura.
Some names [aliases] According to him, Bashar, Yusuf Jeeri and Moslim Sahal have been attributed to him. He is among the most reliable fighters and leaders of Al-Shabaab in the southern region, according to reports.
Yonis Sheikh Dahir, a counterintelligence agent from the same region, was also killed in the same air strike. The third person was also a member of the Amniyat wing of al-Shabab, but his identity has not been confirmed.
A regional intelligence official told VOA that he was surprised that these senior officials had traveled in the same vehicle in the midst of relentless US air strikes, a complete approach to Al-Shabaab’s travel preparations.
Their death comes just two months after a similar air strike also killed Bashir Qorgab, a senior Al-Shabaab official, who fell out with team leader Ahmed Omar Diriye.
Intelligence reports also revealed massive spillovers within the group and a declining financial situation, a move that also put Diriye at odds with Al-Shabaab’s financial controller Mahad Karate.
In the past three months, US air strikes have killed 50 people. This excludes deaths in ground combat, which could be higher. Al-Shabaab has also lost important strategic cities, officials said.
In his submissions to the House Armed Forces Committee, Townsend called Al-Shabaab “an existential threat” to the integration of Somalia, adding that “it informs our frequent air strikes.”
The United States is essential for providing logistical support, such as aerial surveillance and training of SNA troops. Al-Shabaab has been fighting since 2008 to overthrow the fragile Somali government supported by the UN.