The US military is reportedly making use of remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles in Somalia in order to conduct targeted killings in the Horn of Africa nation.
An unnamed senior US military official said on Wednesday that the United States carried out a drone attack in Somalia last week, The Washington Post reported.
The drone strike reportedly targeted two high-ranking members of al-Shabab group that allegedly had “direct ties” to ‘anti-American cleric’ Anwar Al Awlaki, who is on the CIA’s list of ‘suspected terrorists’ and is reportedly hiding in Yemen.
In October 2009, al-Shabab fighters claimed they had shot down a US drone aircraft flying over Kismayo, a port town located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Last week’s drone strike in Somalia makes the lawless state the sixth country where the US military has used drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks.
The United States has now employed drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen to launch aerial bomibings.
Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in the world.
According to an annual account by the Foreign Policy magazine, Somalia tops the most ‘failed’ states on the ‘Failed States Index.’
An estimated 1.4 million Somalis are displaced within the country while another 680,000 live as refugees in neighboring countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The UNHCR reported in April that the number of Somali refugees arriving to neighboring countries during the first quarter of 2011 has more than doubled in comparison to the same period in 2010.
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