Somalia – Drone Strikes ISIS, US Mission Staffers Ordered to Leave
Non-essential US Mission staff have been ordered to leave Mogadishu, Somalia after specific threats were leveled against the Mogadishu Airport, according to Military Times. The order comes just days after the US conducted two drone strikes against ISIS militants there for the first time. ISIS presence in their country has been growing.
— US AFRICOM (@USAfricaCommand) November 3, 2017
The US Mission to the country released this statement:
Due to specific threat information against U.S. personnel on the Mogadishu International Airport, the U.S. Mission to Somalia has directed its non-essential U.S. citizen employees to depart Mogadishu until further notice.
In accordance with the Travel Warning for Somalia, the Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against travel to Somalia. The security situation in Somalia is extremely unstable, and the threat to all U.S. citizens in Somalia remains critical. The Department of State urges all U.S. citizens who decide to remain in Somalia to review your personal security plans, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal safety, remain aware of your surroundings, monitor local media for updates, and maintain a high level of vigilance. There is no U.S. embassy presence in Somalia.
Numerous countries have employees based at the Mogadishu airport.
The US Mission has been based out of Kenya for some time, and there has been no US Embassy in Mogadishu since 1991. Somalia is an extremely dangerous country. The recent massive truck bombing there had upwards of 350 people killed, ostensibly by Al-Shabaab. However, some factions of al-Shabaab have aligned themselves with ISIS, particularly in the northeastern Somalian state of Puntland.
USA Today reported,
The U.S. Africa Command said the two drone strikes killed “several terrorists” in northeastern Somalia, with the first around midnight local time and the second later Friday morning. The U.S. said the strikes were carried out in coordination with Somalia’s government.
Local officials confirmed the strikes. At least six missiles struck in Buqa, a remote mountainous village roughly 37 miles north of Qandala town in the northern state of Puntland, a Somali security official told The Associated Press.
The airstrike may have targeted top leaders of the group, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
This is the reason the country is listed in Trump’s travel ban. Numerous Somalis have been charged in terror acts from the Portland Christmas Tree bomb plot, Minnesota mall stabbing, Ohio State Car Ramming, to the Columbus Machete Attack, and that’s not counting the plots that have been thwarted.