Limited U.S. military assistance to resume to some Somali troops

Sgt. Reuben Hottel, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, reacts to a near ambush by opposition forces July 26 near Alicedale, South Africa during Shared Accord 13. Shared Accord is a biennial training exercise which promotes regional relationships, increases capacity, trains U.S. and South African forces, and furthers cross-training and interoperability.

The United States is resuming some assistance to a unit of the Somali military that is not working directly with U.S. forces, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, around 18 months after aid was suspended to such units over widespread corruption concerns.

The assistance, part of U.S. military aid to the country aimed at helping the government fend off Islamist insurgents, was suspended in December 2017 after the Somali military was unable to account for food and fuel.

U.S. and Somali investigators visiting bases also found far fewer soldiers than had been reported. Many of the men present were missing their guns, indicating they were not ready for active duty.

The resumption of assistance of units not working directly with U.S. forces will be on a pilot basis, a press release from the U.S. embassy in Mogadishu said.

“On the basis of internal reforms made by the Federal Government of Somalia and an inspection of the recipient unit, the United States assesses that the Federal Government of Somalia and the SNA (Somali National Army) have undertaken significant efforts to improve accountability over donor resources,” the release said.