The leader of Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab, Ahmed Abdi Godane, has been killed in a US air strike.
Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed the death of Godane, who was one of the US State Department’s most wanted men, after an air strike on a vehicle and encampment on Monday night, saying:
“We have confirmed that Ahmed Godane, the co-founder of al-Shabaab, has been killed. The U.S. military undertook operations against Godane on Sept. 1, which led to his death. Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss to al-Shabaab. The United States works in coordination with its friends, allies and partners to counter the regional and global threats posed by violent extremist organizations.”
The loss of Godane will have a major impact on the al-Qaeda-linked militant group, that has been losing its control of cities and urban areas on Somalia for the last two years.
There is no obvious leader to take Godane’s place to lead the group, with in-fighting likely as high ranking members tussle for control.
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has called on militants to take this opportunity to lay down their arms and embrace peace, and on Friday announced a 45-day amnesty for militants willing to renounce al-Shabab.