U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a proposal to increase the number of airstrikes in Somalia in the fight against the al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab, the Department of Defense announced on Thursday.
The decision allows U.S. special operations forces to accompany Somali National Army troops and other African allies as they move closer to the fight, enabling them to call in airstrikes without having to wait for the approval of senior commanders, the Associated Press reported.
In a statement on Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis confirmed that Trump had approved the proposal to “provide additional precision fires” in support of operations carried out by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces.
“Somali and AMISOM forces have already achieved significant success in recapturing territory from al-Shabaab, and additional U.S. support will help them increase pressure on al-Shabaab and reduce the risk to our partner forces when they conduct operations,” the statement said.
Al-Shabaab was the militant wing of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts which seized most of southern Somalia in the second half of 2006, but they later lost ground before pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012. One of its worst attacks happened in 2010 when it bombed two World Cup viewing parties in Uganda, killing 74 people.
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