The U.S. military says it has established a small unit of military advisors in Somalia, the first time troops have been deployed to the country since the early 1990s.<br /> <br /> A spokesman for U.S. Africa Command, Colonel Tom Davis, said Friday the small team was launched in October and became fully operational last month.<br /> <br /> U.S. officials say that there are fewer than five military personnel in the unit.  <br /> <br /> The last time U.S. troops were in Somalia was early 1994. That was several months after two Blackhawk helicopters were shot down in late 1993 and 18 Americans were killed.<br /> <br /> Davis says the current unit is giving advisory support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia as well as to Somali security forces.<br /> <br /> Somali and African troops have been battling the al-Qaida linked militant group al-Shabab. Government forces recaptured the capital, Mogadishu, from al-Shabab in 2011, but the militant group continues to carry out periodic attacks in the capital.<br /> <br /> Al-Shabab has also claimed responsibility for attacks outside the country, including a siege on a shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya last September that left dozens dead.