US deployed military advisers to Somalia, officials say

Somali police on patrol in Mogadishu Photo: SIEGFRIED MODOLA/REUTERS
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.
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.
U.S. officials say that there are fewer than five military personnel in the unit.  
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.  
Davis says the current unit is giving advisory support to the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia as well as to Somali security forces.
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.
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.
Source: VOA and agencies
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