U.S. Acknowledges Yearslong Covert Military Presence in Somalia

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 3 2014 8:58 AM

U.S. Acknowledges Yearslong Covert Military Presence in Somalia

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Somali soldiers patrol the streets of Mogadishu.

Photo by Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. acknowledged, for the first time, that American military advisers have been covertly working in Somalia since 2007, Reuters reports. The U.S. has not had a public military presence in the country since the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident, where 18 American troops were killed when two helicopters were shot down in the country. The disclosure of the ongoing, secret military operation comes as “Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant group al Shabaab,” according to Reuters.

Here’s more from Reuters:

An Obama administration official told Reuters there were currently up to 120 U.S. military personnel on the ground throughout Somalia and described them as trainers and advisors… Another official said American forces over the years had provided advice and assistance in areas related to mission planning, small unit tactics, medical care, human rights and communications… The announcement also reflects a deepening of the U.S.-Somali relationship and comes as the United States prepares to name its first ambassador for Somalia since 1993, who would initially be based out of the country due to security concerns.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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