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US renews diplomatic presence in Somalia after almost three decades

A file photo of the American diplomatic compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu

The United States has renewed its diplomatic presence in Somalia after almost three decades, amid controversy surrounding Washington’s military operations in the Horn of Africa country.

The US State Department made the announcement on Tuesday, claiming that the move reflected Washington’s determination to shore up Somalia’s UN-recognized Federal Government.

“This historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years and is another step forward in formalizing US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognizing the Federal Government of Somalia in 2013," State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“Our return demonstrates the United States’s commitment to further advance stability, democracy, and economic development that are in the interest of both nations,” she added.

The US closed down its embassy in Mogadishu in 1991 amid violence, starting to handle diplomatic work concerning the country in the US Embassy in Kenya.

Two years later, an ill-fated military operation saw two American helicopters go down in the Somali capital, killing 18 US forces.

The US military launched an aerial campaign in Somalia in 2007 with helicopter gunships, using terrorist presence there as an excuse.

It also began using unmanned armed aircraft in June 2011 to carry out airstrikes on positions purportedly belonging to al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda terror group’s Somalia branch.

The American mission has, however, failed to uproot the Takfiri militants, who have only grown more powerful in central Somalia and carry out attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital, Mogadishu, as well as regional towns.

The US military currently has more than 6,000 forces stationed across Africa mostly under the pretext of confronting Takfiri terror groups.

Experts, however, say Washington uses the fight against terrorists as a cover to solidify and expand its presence in the continent.

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