Agence France Presse, MOGADISHU, Somalia
Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabab fighters claimed to have foiled an attack involving U.S. special forces overnight Monday to Tuesday near the town of Toratorow, about 60 kilometers south of the capital.
Residents confirmed that heavily armed soldiers backed by helicopters had staged a raid but could not identify the troops.
The Islamist group’s Andalus Radio said in a statement posted on its Instreaming account that they had advance warning of the raid. “The information was already there when they left Belidogle air base,” it said.
It added that Al-Shabab “forces have repelled the Americans. There was heavy fighting which continued for a while, the helicopters landed and collected them back, having failed” their mission.
Sources said that Somali commandos trained by U.S. forces may have taken part in the raid.
It was not immediately possible to identify the target of the raid, though helicopter-backed operations are generally aimed at freeing hostages or eliminating Al-Shabab leaders.
“There was a raid last night, we don’t have details but the information we have got indicates that dozens of Special Forces some of them foreigners were involved in the raid,” Abdukadir Moalim, an elder at a nearby village, said by phone.
Witnesses reported helicopters were used in the raid which lasted more than 40 minutes.
“There were two helicopters last night, I saw them flying in a low level and we could hear the fire exchange and blasts,” said Ahmed Faroje.
His studies in history and background in the media industry have given him a keen insight into the use of mass media as a creator of conflict in the modern world.
His favored areas of study include state-sponsored terrorism, media manufactured reality and the role of intelligence services in manipulation of populations and the perception of events.