An official with the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab group denied claims by Somali government that he was among 150 fighters the United States claimed killed in an airstrike in central Somalia last week.Somali government announced that Mohamed Mire, the militant group’s governor for Hiiraan region was among the fighters killed in the airstrike which the Pentagon said targeted a group of fighters who were preparing to leave a training camp and posed an “imminent threat” to American and African forces.
“The claim by the enemy that I was killed in that attack is false – You can see me alive here,” he told a crowd who gathered to watch the execution of a man the militant group accused of being a member of Somali army.
“Therefore, the enemy continues to unleash fabricated statements against Mujahideen which is something they are familiar with,” he said in an audio released by pro-Al-Shabaab media.
No comment could be reached from Somali officials on the development.
The United States government which killed dozens of Al-Shabaab leaders including the group’s spiritual leader Ahmed Abdi Godane in airstrikes in Somalia in recent years heightened pressure on the group which it designated as a terrorist group in recent weeks.
Somali and American commandos in helicopters raided Awdhegle, a rebel-held town in the lower Shabelle region on Wednesday night, killing at least 10 fighters, according to officials.
However, an Al-Shabaab spokesman who acknowledged the attack only confirmed that the group lost one fighter during the raid which he called ‘foiled’ by fighters.
US officials also confirmed the involvement by US forces in the raid; however, they declined to give further details about the raid.