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The United States is expanding its military operations at a base in Somalia as part of a larger buildup of military infrastructure in the Horn of Africa, according to an exclusive Vice News report released May 3.
According to defense contractors who spoke with the news outlet, the expansion will include the construction of more than 800 beds at Baledogle base, a former airstrip of the Soviet Union.
“The buildup coincides with an aggressive escalation by U.S. forces in their fight against al Qaida-linked al-Shabaab,” the news outlet reported. “U.S. Africa Command (known as AFRICOM) now has more than 500 U.S. military personnel in Somalia, according to a spokeswoman, a dramatic increase from 2016, when AFRICOM only acknowledged 50 American troops on the ground.”
“And since January 2017, U.S. forces have conducted at least 48 airstrikes in Somalia, compared to 14 in 2016 and 11 in 2015, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based watchdog organization.”
America’s deepening involvement on the continent has many concerned that it could develop into a costly full-scale war, like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read America’s Shadow War – U.S. Military Engagement in Africa to see the full extent of Washington’s mostly overlooked activity there.