The U.S. Mission to Somalia on Saturday ordered all non-essential staff to leave Mogadishu in response to “specific threat information” against American personnel posted there.
The threat intelligence related to U.S. personnel at the Mogadishu International Airport, according to a statement from the mission.
“Due to specific threat information against U.S. personnel on the Mogadishu International Airport, the U.S. Mission to Somalia has directed its non-essential U.S. citizen employees to depart Mogadishu until further notice,” the mission said.
The State Department declined to provide further details in response to an inquiry by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The ordered departure comes a day after the U.S. military conducted its first airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Somalia. Two separate airstrikes killed “several” terrorists, according to the U.S. military’s Africa Command. (RELATED: US Begins First Airstrikes On ISIS In Somalia)
The U.S. Mission to Somalia is based in Nairobi, Kenya. There hasn’t been a physical American embassy in Somalia since 1991 due to a persistent civil war and an extremely volatile security environment, but U.S. diplomatic personnel frequently travel to Mogadishu on official business.
ISIS has a growing presence in Somalia, though it is still much smaller than the al-Qaida-affiliated terror group al Shabaab. Both groups seek to expel international peacekeepers and overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government.
The U.S. military has stepped up its activity in Somalia under the Trump administration, with nearly 400 U.S. soldiers deployed there to conduct train, advise, and assist (TAA) missions with the Somalian National Army. They also provide planning and assistance in intelligence operations, the Pentagon confirmed last month.
A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in May during a mission with the Somalian army — the first U.S. casualty in the country since 1993 during the Black Hawk Down incident.
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