American President Donald Trump has ordered the first military operation in Africa 70 days into his tenure.
Mr. Trump yesterday approved a mission enabling the U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, to strike at any part of the country designated “area of active hostility.”
Pentagon spokesperson, Jeff Davis, in a statement said: “The president has approved a Department of Defense proposal to provide additional precision fires in support of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces operations to defeat al-Shabaab in Somalia.”
This is a noticeable change from what the Obama administration authorises, which only allowed strikes in self-defense and in defense of AMISOM.
The approval for additional strikes against al-Shabaab is coming 24 hours after Mr. Trump relaxed preventive rules against rampant civilian casualties.
On Wednesday, he signed a directive which designated part of Somalia “area of active hostilities,” making war-zone rules applicable to the areas. This translates to less protection for civilians in such areas, raising alarm given recent reports of civilian casualties in Mosul, Iraq.
“In West Africa, our primary focus is containing and degrading Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa,” Gen. Waldhauser had testified before the US Senate earlier in March.