On 25 February 2020, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced that it had carried out a precision airstrike on a senior leader of the al-Shabab Islamist militant group near Saacow, Somalia — located approximately 320 km (200 mi) west of Mogadishu — on 22 February. The airstrike killed two people, including the targeted leader and his spouse. The killed leader had reportedly coordinated a 5 January attack on a Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) base at Manda Bay Airstrip, located in Kenya’s Lamu county.
Analyst Comment: Three U.S. military personnel — including one soldier and two private defense contractors — were killed in the 5 January attack, which targeted a KDF base adjacent to AFRICOM’s Camp Simba. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack, which was the first attack to target U.S. forces in Kenya. AFRICOM forces have conducted at least 18 confirmed airstrikes against al-Shabab targets in Somalia since the start of 2020.