By Felix Njini and Nizar Manek, 8 May 2017
- U.S. sends troops to train, approves expanded military role
- Nation at war for three decades is battling al-Qaeda affiliate
Almost a quarter century since the U.S. withdrew from Somalia after militiamen shot down two Black Hawk helicopters and special forces took heavy losses in a battle in the capital, an al-Qaeda-backed insurgency is once again drawing U.S. attention.
The U.S., which already supported the Horn of Africa country’s battle against al-Shabaab militants with drone strikes and limited special forces, say it’s deploying about a dozen troops from the 101st Airborne Division to train Somalia’s army and has given U.S. commanders greater authority to use air strikes. A Navy SEAL was killed May 4 in a operation with Somali forces west of the capital, Mogadishu. The Pentagon said it was the first death of a U.S. service member in combat in Somalia since 1993.