Saturday, 15 April 2017

‘A Few Dozen’ US Troops Deployed To Somalia: Pentagon

The United States is deploying “a few dozen”
troops to Somalia to assist the national army and
conduct unspecified security operations, a US
military spokeswoman said Saturday. The soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, a
light infantry unit trained for air assaults, will
mainly train and equip Somalia’s army “to better
fight Al-Shabab,” an Al-Qaeda linked extremist
group, the spokeswoman for the US Africa
Command based in Germany, Samantha Reho, told AFP. They will also conduct “security force assistance,”
she said, confirming a report by Voice of America. “For operational security issues, we will not discuss
specifics of military efforts nor speculate on
potential future activities or operations,” she said,
declining to say precisely how many troops were
being sent. Somalia’s fragile central government is still propped
up by the international community and a 22,000-
strong African Union peacekeeping force after
nearly three decades of civil war and anarchy. While Shabab militants have lost large swaths of
territory and were forced out of Mogadishu by
African Union troops in 2011, they continue to
strike in the capital and countryside. 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. He took office in
February. The 101st Airborne Division has been extensively
used in US-led military campaigns in Iraq and
Afghanistan. The United States’ most notorious military
operation in Somalia was in 1993, when an ill-fated
attempt to snatch militia leaders led to two Black
Hawk helicopters being shot down in Mogadishu.
A chaotic rescue was mounted, resulting in
hundreds of deaths, including those of 18 US soldiers. The incident was made famous in the
book and the movie “Black Hawk Down.” The US military spokeswoman noted that US
forces have been in Somalia since 1993, helping
the Somali government on security concerns.

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