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Somalia’s newly elected president welcomed a decision by the United States to send special forces to the Horn of Africa country again, amid fears that the al-Shabab terrorist group has grown even more powerful recently, the Voice of America reported.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration said it would deploy almost 500 troops to Somalia as part of what officials describe as a persistent presence.

For years, US forces have been conducting counterterrorism operations with Somalian soldiers but that ended in 2020 when former President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of about 750 US troops from the country. The previous administration had US soldiers fly to Somalia for periodic engagements.

Some US and Somalian officials lamented that the “commute” disrupted counterterrorism operations and caused al-Shabab to swell in numbers. Intelligence analysts warned that the al Qaeda-linked terrorist group now has as many as 12,000 fighters and can raise as much as $10 million in revenue per month.

Somalian President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud hailed the reversal and said the US remained “a reliable partner in our quest (for) stability and fight against terrorism.”

Details of the deployment have yet to be ironed out but newly deployed troops are expected to assist Somalia’s elite counterterrorism forces, the Danab Brigade.

Even so, the unit has continued to struggle against the militants even before the US withdrawal.

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