US sends military advisers back to Somalia

The US will aid AU and Somali troops in their battle against groups including al-Shabab [Reuters]

The United States has sent a handful of military advisers to Somalia to help bolster the African Union force there, establishing the first permanent US military presence there in two decades.

The deployment, confirmed on Saturday, marks the first stationing of US troops in the troubled country since 1993, when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 US soldiers were killed in a disastrous operation in Mogadishu.

“The US has established a military co-ordination cell in Somalia to provide planning and advisory support to the African Union Mission in Somalia [AMISOM] and Somali security forces to increase their capabilities and promote peace and security,” said US Africa Command spokesman, Colonel Tom Davis.

The team was launched in October and became fully operational in December. It is based at Mogadishu airport.[Read more]