Following a joint operation by the Somali army and the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), al-Shabab commander Bashir Mohamed Qorgab was assassinated by air strike in the town of Sakow on February 22, reported Somali state radio on March 8. His family confirmed his death, and the Pentagon confirmed it in a statement the next day. Qorgab was suspected of having been involved in several attacks against Somali and American forces in Somalia and Kenya, including the attack on the Manda Bay military base in Kenya in which three Americans were killed.
Why It Matters
Qorgab’s death may be welcomed by many in Somalia after a spate of deadly attacks against military outposts and civilian centers, but is unlikely to curb al-Shabab operations if the rumors were true that he had broken away from the militant jihadist group in the weeks before his death. Nonetheless, the operation’s success suggests that American training of Somali special forces is yielding results, partly allaying concerns of what might happen should the Pentagon decide to significantly reduce the number of American troops in the Horn of Africa as part of a global deployment assessment.