US completes withdrawal of troops from Somalia amid terror threat
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Multiple reports indicate that the US troops serving in Somalia withdrew from the Horn of Africa nation on Friday, which was the last day of their operation in the country, which they have been assisting in as many years following a civil war which broke out in the 90s.
For most of these periods, the country has been ungovernable with rising groups of militia, terrorists such as Al-Shabaab and IS-Somalia, and general political disorder which has acted negatively on the development and stability of the country, with the worst economic record.
The Department of Defense had issued a withdrawal notice which was signed by President Donald Trump, whose term expires in the next four days. The outgoing president had promised to scale down military operations outside the US as part of the cost-saving strategy.
By yesterday, all the 700 servicemen who were stationed in Somalia had been withdrawn, even though the country's leadership had asked Washington to reconsider the decision. Last week, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble visited the troops in Balligodle Army base where he bade them farewell.
According to the Department of Defense, the troops will be repositioned elsewhere in East Africa. Multiple sources indicate that they will be stationed in Kenya and Djibouti, which hosts the US Africa Command troops, who serve in various countries within the continent.
Before their exit, the team has been training the Somali National Army besides equipping them. The Danab Special Forces are trained by the Command and credited for conducting sophisticated operations against the Al-Shabaab militants.
The team had conducted three airstrikes in Somalia this year, claiming several lives of Al-Shabaab. The latest airstrike was conducted at Buulo Fulaay in the Bay region, where several top militants are said to have been killed.
“This strike in Buulo Fulaay combined with recent strikes, shows our resolve and degrades al-Shabaab’s ability to threaten Somalia and its neighbors,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, Joint Task Force - Quartz commander. “Side by side with our partners, we plan to leave no safe place for al-Shabaab to hide.”
Joint Task Force - Quartz operations support U.S. Africa Command and international efforts that promote a peaceful and stable Somalia. Violent extremist organizations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to the U.S. and regional interests, US Africa Command added in a statement.