US starts withdrawing troops from Somalia amid growing instability

The U.S continued to remove troops from Somalia following President Donald Trump’s directive earlier this month.

The Pentagon said the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams is “conducting maritime operations off the coast of Somalia” to “reposition U.S.

DOD personnel from Somalia to other locations in East Africa.

According to reports, some military assets and troops will be relocated to Manda Bay, a jointly run Kenya Defence Forces camp in Lamu and others in Djibouti.

According to VOA, Trump’s order is part of an effort to draw down U.S. forces globally, including in Afghanistan and Iraq, before he leaves office January 20.

About 700 U.S. troops had been in Somalia, helping local forces in the fight against the al-Shabab insurgency.

The mission has gone largely unnoticed in the U.S., but it has been a key component of the Pentagon’s campaign to combat al-Qaida worldwide.

Africa Command commander, U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend said he directed the formation of Joint Task Force- Quartz to oversee Operation Octave Quartz, a mission designated to reposition forces from Somalia.

Townsend traveled to Kenya and other East Africa countries between December 14-17 and met with U.S. commanders and forces supporting the mission and operations.

“JTF-Quartz is commanded by the SOCAF commander, Maj. Gen. Dag Anderson. I have just returned from visiting him at his forward headquarters in East Africa where I met with Dag and his commanders to review their posture and plans. JTF-Quartz is ready to go,” he said.