US Troops Deploy to Somalia For First Time Since 1994

A few dozen US soldiers have deployed to Somalia to assist the government in Mogadishu and the African Union Mission in Somalia in their fight against violent extremists, including the group al Shabab, Voice of America reported. The troops deployed from the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Ky., and arrived in Mogadishu on April 2. While in recent years the US has maintained a small group of counterterrorism advisors on the ground in Somalia, military officials told VOA, the current deployment is the largest since US forces pulled out of Somalia following the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993. Eighteen US service members were killed in that battle, which was memorialized in Mark Bowden’s 1999 book Black Hawk Down and Ridley Scott’s 2001 film of the same name. The newly deployed group’s mission will last through the end of September, according to VOA, and they will “conduct various security cooperation and/or security force assistance events in Somalia in order to assist our allies and partners,” US Africa Command spokesman Pat Barnes told VOA.