The US military announced on April 7 that it had killed one of the top leaders of Somalia's al-Shabaab terrorist organization in an airstrike several days earlier.
In a press release, The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said Yusuf Jiis, a long-standing, high-ranking leader in the organization, was confirmed by post-strike assessments to have been among the three terrorists killed.
"He was violent, ruthless, and responsible for the loss of many innocent lives. His removal makes Somalia and neighboring countries safer," said US Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of AFRICOM.
Jiis, one of the foundational members of the terrorist group, held many significant positions that facilitated al-Shabaab's violent and harmful activities throughout East Africa, the press release said.
The command previously announced that it had carried out the attack, which occurred in the vicinity of Bush Madina, about 135 miles west of the capital Mogadishu, in coordination with Somalia's federal government.
AFRICOM said continued efforts are required to create sustained stability and security in the East African country.
"Al-Shabaab remains a disease in Somalia and is an indiscriminate killer of innocent people and their only desire is to brutalize populations inside Somalia and outside of Somalia," said US Army Maj. Gen. William Gayler, AFRICOM's director of operations. "Putting pressure on this network helps contain their ambition and desire to cause harm and destruction."
According to AFRICOM, the command's goal in the East African country is to help the federal government provide a safe and secure environment for the people of Somalia, deter organizations such as al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia from expanding, and promote regional security as well as cooperation to strengthen the ability of African militaries to work together.
"While we might like to pause our operations in Somalia because of the coronavirus, the leaders of al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS have announced that they see this crisis as an opportunity to further their terrorist agenda so we will continue to stand with and support our African partners," AFRICOM Commander Townsend said.