News / Africa

US Has Trainers, Advisers, Military Coordinators in Somalia

FILE - African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops gather for a briefing before embarking on an operation.
FILE - African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops gather for a briefing before embarking on an operation.

The U.S. military has acknowledged having an expanded presence in Somalia, helping African and Somali government forces battle Islamist insurgents.

A spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command told VOA Thursday that a "limited number" of trainers and advisers and a "small military coordination cell" are in Somalia to support African Union peacekeepers and Somali security forces.

Spokesman Benjamin Benson said the total number of personnel is small, adding that they have operated in groups that have moved in and out of multiple locations.

The comments come one day after Reuters news agency, citing an Obama administration official, reported there are up to 120 U.S. military personnel on the ground across Somalia.

That report said U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since 2007, around the time Islamist militant group al-Shabab began posing a threat to the government.

The Africa Command first acknowledged the U.S. military presence in Somalia in January.  It said at the time that it had recently established a unit of advisors in the country that included fewer than five military personnel.

The previous time U.S. troops were in Somalia was in early 1994.  That was several months after two Blackhawk helicopters were shot down in late 1993 and 18 Americans were killed.

Members of parliament and relatives carry the body of slain legislator Mohamed Mohamud Hayd who was shot dead in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, July 3, 2014.Members of parliament and relatives carry the body of slain legislator Mohamed Mohamud Hayd who was shot dead in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, July 3, 2014.
x
Members of parliament and relatives carry the body of slain legislator Mohamed Mohamud Hayd who was shot dead in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, July 3, 2014.
Members of parliament and relatives carry the body of slain legislator Mohamed Mohamud Hayd who was shot dead in the Hamarweyne district of Mogadishu, July 3, 2014.

African Union and Somali forces have recaptured much of central and​southern Somalia from al-Shabab in the past few years but the militant group continues to launch attacks on government targets.  It killed a member of parliament in Mogadishu Thursday and attacked the presidential palace earlier this year.

Benson stopped short of saying U.S. personnel have not been involved in combat, saying they are "not tasked with engaging enemy forces except in self-defense."

He says the U.S. effort in Somalia is aimed at improving the capabilities of Somali government forces and the African Union mission, known as AMISOM, with the overall goal of having a secure and stable Somalia.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More