National Security

Trump To Increase Fire Support Against Al-Shabaab Terrorists

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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President Donald Trump has approved the increase of fire support against al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

“The President has approved a Department of Defense proposal to provide additional precision fires in support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces operations to defeat al-Shabaab in Somalia,” Pentagon Spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement to reporters.

The new approval will allow U.S. forces to further their goal of supporting local forces against the al-Qaida linked terrorist group, according to Davis.

“Somali and AMISOM forces have already achieved significant success in recapturing territory from al-Shabaab, and additional U.S. support will help them increase pressure on al-Shabaab and reduce the risk to our partner forces when they conduct operations,” he said.

It is unclear what kind of weapons platforms will be included in the increased support, although air strikes, including drones, have been used in the past.

Al-Shabaab controlled most of southern Somalia at its peak in late 2006. The group was rolled back by Somali and Ethiopian forces in 2007, but it continues to engage in terrorist activity. The group gained worldwide notoriety in April, 2015, when its members stormed Garissa University in Kenya, killing 147 people.

Al-Shabaab reportedly killed dozens of Kenyan troops in January, but lost 31 fighters in a raid by Kenyan Defense Forces earlier this week.

Approximately 200 to 300 U.S. special forces are believed to be working with local forces to help defeat al-Shabaab’s remnants, according to an October report by the New York Times.

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