US sends dozens of troops to Somalia, 1st time in decades

Elbert EdwardsApr 16, 2017

We say to the leadership of al-Shabab that you have been fighting for more than 10 years and still you can not overthrow the government, which has global support and military power.

"The objective of this particular train and equip mission is to improve the logistical capacity of the Somali National Army and the focus will be on teaching basic logistics operations, which will allow Somalia forces to better fight Al-Shabaab", he explained.

In October 1993, during the Battle of Mogadishu (the Black Hawk Down incident), 18 USA soldiers were killed and 73 wounded, with a pair of Black Hawk helicopters shot down.

"We confirm to the Somali people that we are prepared and within two years' period we will eradicate al-Shabab from all areas they are present in Somalia", the president said.

"While we cannot provide exact details because of operational security issues, we can tell you [U.S. AFRICOM] has sent a limited number of trainers and advisors plus a small military coordination cell to support AMISOM and Somali security forces in worldwide efforts to stabilize Somalia", Prichard wrote in an e-mail to Foreign Policy. While the US "withdrew" from Somalia in 1994 after volunteering to lead the United Nations task force sent in the wake of the collapse of the Siad Barre government, it has reinserted itself in the last decade plus under the auspices of fighting terrorism. About 40 troops are taking part.

With Trump's approval, the USA military now can pursue more aggressive airstrikes against al-Shabab, and parts of southern Somalia will be considered areas of active hostilities.

They have threatened a "merciless" war against the new administration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual US-Somali citizen who goes by the nickname Farmajo.

The extremist group this week announced that its recent escalation of deadly attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere is in "doubled response" to Trump's approval of expanded US military efforts.

Days later, a auto bomb targeted senior officials leaving a military base in Mogadishu, killing at least 15 people and destroying a minibus carrying civilians, the Somali military said. A day later, a suicide bombing at a military academy in Mogadishu killed at least five soldiers.

As part of its long-fought shadow war against al-Shabab militants, the US has carried out commando raids and drone assassinations there (with the latter markedly increasing in 2015-2016).

Pressure is growing on Somalia's army to assume full security for the country as the 22,000-strong African Union force plans to leave by the end of 2020.

This month marks 10 years since the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) started.

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