Revealed: Amount used by US military on Somalia's special Danab forces

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - The US spends a fortune in training and equipping Danab Special forces, State Department has revealed, in what gives a clear picture of America's commitment to helping Somalia effectively defeat Al-Shabaab militants and other violent extremist groups in the country, in a bid to restore sanity and stability.

Somalia has been reaching out to stakeholders and partners in her quest to flush out violent extremist groups, with Al-Shabaab being the biggest threat to the country's stability. The group, which swore allegiance to Al-Qaida, controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia according to the United Nations.

But in recent weeks, Al-Shabaab has been losing strategic towns across Somalia, with the most recent being Gal'ad and Haradhere towns in central Somalia. The Somali National Army [SNA] has intensified operations against the group with help of the US Africa Command and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] forces.

The New York Times reveals that State Department has been using close to $80 million annually to train, equip, feed, and fuel the Danab Special Forces, a contingent of SNA forces responsible for sophisticated operations against Al-Shabaab and other dangerous groups such as IS-Somalia.

Danab forces train in the Balidogle Army base in Lower Shabelle and have often been the target of Al-Shabaab. In 2019, the militants attempted to storm into the secured base but lost the battle after American soldiers intervened, a recent report revealed, while noting the contribution of US forces in Somalia.

President Joe Biden authorized the reinstatement of American troops to Somalia last year over 12 months after their unprecedented withdrawal which was sanctioned by former President Donald Trump. There are close to 500 US Africa Command soldiers in Somalia whose responsibility is to train and equip Danab Special Forces.

Additionally, the State Department noted that $300 per head is given to the Danab Special troops as monthly bonuses, making them the most-paid security officers in the country. Unlike other contingents in the SNA force, the Danab Special forces are given preferential treatment given their role in the Al-Shabaab crackdown.

Some critics say current operations against Al-Shabaab are too dependent on Danab, the elite brigade of the Somali military, arguing that there is also a need to train more soldiers. Apart from the US, Turkey also trains Gorgor soldiers and the United Kingdom also shapes the skills of the Somali army in Baidoa.

The Danab Special forces work closely with US Africa Command and in recent weeks, the team has managed to kill over 600 Al-Shabaab militants. The US is also supporting Somalia by giving rewards to the people who can help identify Al-Shabaab revenue sources as part of the strategy to cripple the group financially.

GAROWE ONLINE

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