The U.S. military secretly deployed trainers and advisers to Somalia in October, the first time regular U.S. troops have been on the ground there since 1993.
The Washington Post reports that the small cell of fewer than two dozen U.S. troops are stationed in the capital of Mogadishu to help coordinate and advise African troops fighting against al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate battling for control of Somalia.
The U.S. has in recent years stepped up its military presence in Somalia, launching drone strikes to target al-Shabaab militants and conducting counterterrorism raids.
Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. forces in Africa, visited Mogadishu last summer, according to the Post.
Al-Shabaab, the Islamic militant group that operates in Somalia, was responsible for last year’s four-day attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.