US sending troops to Somalia to help defeat Islamic militants

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For the first time since 1994, dozens of regular US troops are being deployed to Somalia in an effort to help the ill-equipped Somali army defeat the terror group Al-Shabab, which is part of al-Qaeda, according to a BBC report.

President Trump declared Somalia an “Area of Active Hostility” March 30, which gave the military greater authority to launch strikes with fewer restrictions.

The movie “Black Hawk Down” recalls a tragedy that took place in Somalia in 1993 when a raid led by the U.S. in the Somali capital of Mogadishu ended in disaster. Back then, the U.S. was leading a UN mission to end the civil war and famine in Somalia. Two US helicopters were shot down in Mogadishu, killing 18 US special forces personnel, some of whom were filmed being dragged through the streets. Hundreds of Somalis died in the incident, as well as two UN soliders. Shortly after that, military personnel were withdrawn from Somalia.

The US has since restricted most of its actions in Somalia to drone and missile attacks against Islamist militants.

According to BBC editor Mary Harper, the US has trained a highly effective elite Somali force, but the main focus now is the Somali army, “which is fractured, undisciplined and poorly equipped.”

Several other countries, including the UK and Turkey, are also training Somali troops, she said.

Al-Shabab has a foothold in many rural parts of Somalia, frequently attacking people in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

“The African Union has a force of about 22,000 soldiers helping the Somali government fight al-Shabab,” according to the report.

H/T: BBC

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