US Africa commander calls on Somalia to take its role in combating al-Shabaab

Hiiraan Xog, The US called on Somali National Army to take more responsibility in the fight against al-Shabaab amid setbacks on air-campaign against the group.

In testimony before the Senate, Armed Services Committee, outgoing U.S. Africa commander Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said the goal of the strikes is to help the fledgling government of Somalia gain control of its country.

“At the end of the day, these strikes are not going to defeat al-Shabaab. The bottom line is the Somalian national army needs to grow, it needs to step up and it needs to take responsibility for their own security,” Gen. Thomas said.

Since early 2017, the US has increased the number of strikes it conducts, with 35 that year, 47 in 2018 and about 12 so far this year, Waldhauser said.

He added that US strikes were providing the space for local forces to grow.

The Pentagon for years has focused on combating rebel groups in Somalia, where approximately 500 U.S. personnel are based, including troops, civilians and contractors.

al-Shabaab has been carrying out deadly attacks in and outside Somali capital for the last one decade.

The group also launches deadly armed raids on both African Union Mission (AMISOM) and Somali army based in different of the countries.

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