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'A few dozen' US troops deployed to Somalia: Pentagon

The last United States troops in the Horn of Africa country left in 1993. "The forward presence of US forces in Somalia coincides with a spike in airstrikes against al-Shabab", writes Stripes' John Vandiver, "which was the target of at least 14 strikes or raids in 2016 compared with only a handful a year earlier".

The new deployment will be the first time USA ground troops are officially deployed to Somalia.

Al-Shabab's Shahada News Agency posted the group's statement on social media Monday, the SITE Intelligence Group said.

The country's new Somali-American president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, last week declared a new offensive against the extremist group, which is based in Somalia but has claimed responsibility for major attacks in East Africa, including the Garissa University attack in neighboring Kenya in April 2015 that killed 148 people.

In response to the president's declaration of war with al-Shabab, the militants have increased their attacks in Mogadishu, the country's capital.

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"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", the spokesman added. It continues to carry out deadly attacks in the capital, targeting hotels, military facilities and the presidential palace. -Somali military relations, according to Stars and Stripes.

Farmajo and the Somali government have undertaken a number of aggressive military reforms and an aggressive bombing campaign targeting al Shabaab.

Dozens of U.S. troops have been deployed to Somalia to provide training support in their counter-terrorist operations, according to a USA military official, as Mogadishu ramps up its operations against the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab group. He has called for the insurgents to come to the negotiation table or risk total defeat within a space of two years. That, The New York Times reported, strengthened the legal basis for airstrikes and other counterterrorism operations in Somalia that were becoming more frequent.

As part of its long-fought shadow war against al-Shabab militants, the USA has carried out commando raids and drone assassinations there (with the latter markedly increasing in 2015-2016). Last month, the head of the AU mission said Somalia's army has been unable to take charge as expected.



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