Somalia: US raids on ISIS stronghold

A US special forces raid in Somalia ordered by President Joe Biden killed a key regional ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani, the Pentagon said in a statement Jan. 26. Sudani apparently died in a gun-battle after US troops descended on a cave complex in a mountainous area of northern Somalia. No civilians were injured or killed in the operation, officials said. The statement did not specify the location of the raid, but the announcement followed reports in Somali media describing a US drone strike on a stronghold of the self-declared Islamic State-Somalia (ISS) in the Iskushuban area of the Cal Miskaad mountains, in the northern autonomous region of Puntland. (Defense Post, Military.com, LWJ)

The US military has also been stepping up attacks on the Qaeda-aligned Shabaab rebels in central Somalia over the past several days. One attack came on Jan. 20 near Galcad in Galguduud region. US Africa Command said it killed at least 30 Shabaab fighters in what it called a "collective self-defense strike." Somali government troops had recently recaptured Galcad from the Shabaab. The air-strike followed a Shabaab suicide attack on a Somali National Army (SNA) base in the town, in which two car bombs targeted the base before it was stormed by an assault team. At least seven SNA troops were killed in the assault.

The second "self-defense strike" occurred on Jan. 23 near the town of Xaradheere in the Mudug region in central Somalia. AFRICOM said two Shabaab members were killed in the attack. Somali government forces had also recently recaptured Xaradheere from Shabaab. (LWJ)

A Somali government offensive against the Shabaab which began last August in conjunction with African Union forces has made significant gains. (Jurist, Al Jazeera)

Attack on Ugandan forces in Somalia

At least 54 Ugandan soldiers were killed in an al-Shabab attack on their base in southwestern Lower Shabelle region on May 26. Video footagesuggests about a dozen soldiers were also captured by al-Shabab. It took Ugandan forces, part of an African Union military intervention in support of the government, a week to fully regain control of the base and surrounding area. (TNI)