Somalia says 81 militants killed in airstrikes in southern region


"Somali security forces conducted special operations in Jilib district and destroyed an Al-Shabaab camp where terrorists were regrouping to launch attacks on Gedo region area", Osman said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

On Thursday afternoon, U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in the Bay Region of Somalia, about 100 miles west of the capital, that killed "several militants", U.S. Africa Command said in a release.

Also, Africa Command (AFRICOM) said the midnight air strike on Friday near Mogadishu's Shabel region killed a wide range of al-Shabaab militants.

Earlier this month, the US carried out its first airstrike against ISIS fighters in Somalia, targeting a small but growing cell that emerged in the northern Puntland region just two years ago.

The Somali government said the militants were killed in Jilib, in Middle Juba of southern Somalia, early Saturday.

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It wasn't the first time the USA targeted militants there.

Friday's airstrike was the 23rd the US military has carried out this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab and the far smaller Islamic State group in Somalia. In February, the East African country elected its first president in decades, whose victory offered a ray of hope for residents. Numerous fighters split off from al-Shabab.

Since 2007, al-Shabab has attempted to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia. However, Somalia experts have told ABC News that the group is struggling to recruit new members.

Following the October 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu which killed over 400 people mostly civilians, the government declared war against al-Shabaab fighters who control large swath of remote areas in South and central Somalia.

Earlier this month the USA military carried out its first airstrikes in Somalia against ISIS, which is a small but growing presence in the northern part of the Horn of Africa nation.