Trump prepares military for combat in Somalia

Mr Trump's decision, which was made on Wednesday but not immediately announced, allows United States 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 offensive air strikes quicker.

"The additional support provided by this authority will help deny al-Shabaab safe havens from which it could attack U.S. citizens or USA interests in the region", Davis said.

NAIJ.com learnt that the military had accused the previous Democratic administration of President Barack Obama of micromanaging combat operations.

Those rules, known as the Presidential Policy Guidance, required high-level, interagency vetting of proposed strikes. Troops from U.S. Africa Command support the mission through information exchanges, partnership building exercises and precision strikes. "The theme seems to be more aggressive, and the consequences seem to be a spike in civilian casualties". He said the US was seeking a "fresh perspective" amid concern that some fighters have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, illustrating the danger of militants fleeing battlefields in Iraq and Syria for haven in Somalia.

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At that time, journalist Samuel Oakford at Airwars wrote of the USA -led air campaign against so-called Islamic State: "The intensity of strikes in 2017-notably around Raqqa and Mosul-has no precedent". The movement of so many people around the battlefield in search of food and water could make strikes more challenging, but the military says it has been preparing appropriately.

The move follows a similar expansion of war powers in Yemen.

Suspected Al-Shabaab militants on Thursday hijacked a Kenyan government vehicle in the border town of Elwak in Mandera country.

In the past year the US launched 14 airstrikes - almost all drone strikes - killing some top al-Shabab leaders, according to a Somali intelligence official who coordinated with the USA on some of them.

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Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, was found guilty of providing materials to a terror group in northern Somalia called al-Shabaab.

In January dozens of Kenyan troops were killed in an al-Shabaab raid on a Kenyan military base. A regional military effort pushed it from the capital, Mogadishu, and most other urban centers, but experts say that push then weakened, allowing al-Shabab to regroup in the country's vast rural areas. The Navy's classified SEAL Team 6 has been heavily involved in many of these operations.

The official grade of certainty that civilians won't be killed has been lowered from "near certainty" to "reasonable certainty".

According to data compiled by the New America think tank, there were 9 drone strikes and four ground operations conducted in Somalia in 2016, killing an estimated 25 civilians and 200 people said to be fighting with terrorist organizations.

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