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US to build 5 new military bases for Somali army, which faces a rebellion by an extremist group

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The U.S. will build up to five military bases for the Somali army in a project that seeks to bolster the Somalian national army’s capabilities amid ongoing threats from an extremist group.

Somalia’s defense minister and the U.S. charge d’affaires signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

The agreement comes at a time when the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia, known as ATMIS, is scaling back its presence in Somalia.

The new bases will be associated with the Somali military’s Danab Brigade, established in 2017 following an agreement between the U.S. and Somalia to recruit, train, equip and mentor 3,000 men and women from across Somalia to build a strong infantry capability within the Somali army. The brigade has been pivotal as a quick-reaction force in efforts to repel the extremist group al-Shabab.

The U.N. Security Council has authorized the reduction of the peacekeeping force in Somalia, and the Somali government says it is achieving progress in improving security.

But al-Shabab continues to carry out sporadic attacks across Somalia, including in public places. The group’s latest attack, an incident inside a military base in Mogadishu, killed four Emirati troops and a Bahraini military officer.

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