The Americans now say they believe one of the key leaders of the al-Shabaab terrorist group, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed earlier this week in one of their airstrikes in Somalia.
His camp in south-central Somalia was hit on Monday. The Pentagon has taken a week to fully assess the mission.
During Godane’s six-year leadership, al-Shabaab repeatedly struck inside Somalia, Kenya and elsewhere in the region, carving out an al-Qaeda franchise. Now it may struggle.
“You will see a contest for the leadership of this organisation in the interim. And in the longer run, the possibility that, it is highly unlikely to actually imagine al-Shabaab remaining intact and as a cohesive unit post-Godane because of the imposing figure that he was within the organization.” says the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies’ Abdi Aynte.
Godane’s death has been confirmed by the Somali president, who is also offering a 45-day amnesty to any group members who are ready to renounce al-Qaeda and violence.