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USA troops to help Somalia fight al-Shabab

16 April 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 worldwide support and military power.

Faisal Isse Xinhua News Agency/NewscomThe U.S. has deployed about 40 additional "regular" troops to Somalia, according to anonymous military officials, to "train and equip" the Somali military, continuing an escalation of the U.S. counter-terrorism campaign in Somalia that continued apace in the twilight of the Obama administration.

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

However, the USA military typically keeps a small unit of special operations forces in Somalia to support U.S.

This will be the first such deployment in over two decades. Even now, Somalia's fragile central government is struggling to assert itself after the nationwide chaos that began with the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

The Takfiri militant group was forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and carries out attacks against government, military and civilian targets seemingly at will in Mogadishu and regional towns. At about the same moment, the New York Times revealed an imminent Obama administration plan to deem al-Shabab "to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials", strengthening President-elect Donald Trump's authority to carry out missions there in 2017 and beyond.

The move is another example of the acceleration of USA efforts to help combat violent extremism across the globe, a second military official said.

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Days later, a vehicle 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.

Last week, new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared war on al-Shabab, calling on militants to retreat from the group within 60 days in exchange for jobs and education.

On Monday, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest penetrated a fortified Somali National Army base in the city, killing at least five soldiers.

The African Union has a force of about 22,000 soldiers helping the Somali government fight al-Shabab. Meanwhile, fighters pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group have emerged in the northern part of the country.

A fragile government relies on worldwide backing and the security of a 22,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force.

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

The U.S. Africa Command on Friday said this deployment is for logistics training of Somalia's army, which is battling the extremist group al-Shabab.