Somalia: US sending ‘dozons’ more troops to aid fight against Al-Shabaab
The US is sending “dozens” of additional troops to Somalia as it continues to take a more active role in the battle against Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab.
The troops will join US forces already in the Horn of Africa nation who assist the Somali National Army and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces with training and equipment. Last month, US President Donald Trump granted additional authority to US forces in Somalia, allowing them to conduct air strikes in more areas of the country.
US troops deployed in Somalia
Aside from a small team of counterterrorism advisors, the deployment means US troops will be in Somalia for the first time since 1994. The US pulled out of a UN intervention operation in the country after 18 US special forces personnel were killed by Somali militiamen in late 1993.
It’s the latest move by the US to ramp up its efforts against Al-Shabaab since Trump’s inauguration in January. Somalia also named a new president in February after Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed secured a surprise victory in elections earlier that month.
Somalia’s new leader has also promised to take a stronger stance against the terrorist group, which has retaliated with a number of fatal attacks in Mogadishu.
A renewed effort against Al-Shabaab
The combined efforts of Somalia and the US come at a time when Al-Shabaab is demonstrating added ferocity. The terrorist group is angry about the election of American-Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and warned people against supporting the newly-elected leader.
Somalia’s army also faces the prospect of AMISOM troops withdrawing in 2020 and few signs the country is ready to lead the fight against Al-Shabaab alone.
Last week, president Mohamed called on Al-Shabaab fighter to surrender within 60 days in return for education and jobs. Days later, his new army official was targeted in a car bomb attack which crashed into a minibus, killing at least 16 civilians.
Featured image: By SGT Kevin Thomas – http://www.defenseimagery.mil; VIRIN: DD-SD-00-00790, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9889339