September 5, 2014 / 1:38 PM / 3 years ago

Islamist rebel leader killed in U.S. strike: Somali government

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - The Somali prime minister said on Friday that Ahmed Godane, head of the Islamist militant group al Shabaab, was killed in a U.S. strike this week, although the group that is waging an insurgency against the government has yet to comment.

Al Shabaab soldiers sit outside a building during patrol along the streets of Dayniile district in Southern Mogadishu, March 5, 2012. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

U.S. officials had said on Wednesday that they were still checking to see whether Monday’s U.S. missile strike on an al Shabaab encampment had killed Godane, who was appointed leader in 2008 after his predecessor was killed in a U.S. attack.

“We tell the Somalis that Godane is dead,” Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed said on his Facebook page, the first government confirmation of his death.

Reporting by Abdirahman Hussein and Abdi Sheikh; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by James Macharia

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