Somali PM Pays Visit to Belidogle US Drone Base Ahead of American Troops’ Withdrawal

MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has made his first visit to US drone base in Belidogle where hundreds of Somali special forces are stationed, as American troops withdraw from the country by mid January.

The PM accompanied by the chief of the army and cabinet ministers toured the heavily fortified base after taking flight from the capital Mogadishu on Saturday.

During his visit, the PM met with US and Somali military officers, discussing issues including the war against Al-Shabaab insurgents, who have recently stepped up attacks hitting high-profile targets in the capital and beyond.

His trip comes just a few weeks after the Al-Qaeda affiliate targeted a stadium where he was due to address a rally of supporters during a visit to Galkayo, where more than 20 people including senior US-trained military officers and soldiers were killed.

The PM urged Somali and US special forces to continue operations against Al-Shabaab, which controls large swathes of territory in south and central Somalia and elaborated on achievements made by the federal government in strengthening the capability of the army to stand on its feet.

Hundreds of US troops are scheduled to evacuate the base and other military camps in Somalia by mid January before president-elect Joe Biden assumes office, but Somali officials have raised fears that the move could further embolden militants, who have been in an insurgency war against western-backed government based in Mogadishu over the last 13 years.

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