American Women Sentenced for Aiding Christian-Killing Terrorist Group in Africa

President Donald Trump has relaxed some of the rules for preventing civilian casualties when the US military carries out counterterrorism strikes in Somalia, laying the groundwork for an escalating campaign against Islamist militants in the Horn of Africa.

Trump approved a mission proposal from the Pentagon which will allow the U.S. Africa Command, AFRICOM, to strike at any part of the country designated "area of active hostility".

USA special operations forces can move closer to the fight and call in offensive airstrikes more quickly.

Under the former administration of President Barack Obama, the United States had only been able to employ air-strikes against al-Shabaab militants in self-defense situations - when African Union or Somali government troops accompanied by U.S. advisers, came under attack.

"We stand with the worldwide community in supporting the Federal Government of Somalia as it strives to improve stability and security in Somalia", Davis said. "At a time when thousands of civilians are now on the move. the US should be cautious in relying on information about whether civilians are present before deciding to strike", she said.

This is the latest in a string of moves to relax past restrictions on operations, with Trump Administration focus on giving commanders in the field more autonomy and very little restriction on the nature of operations in populated areas.

"Obviously, the cardinal rule in these types of engagements is to not make more enemies than you already have", Waldhauser said.

Somali security officers secure the scene of a suicide auto explosion in front of the national theater in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, on March 21.

Open Doors USA ranks North Korea and Somalia No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on its World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most severe persecution.

The review for Somalia was slowed, officials have said, by criticism of the raid in Yemen, which resulted in numerous civilian deaths, the death of a member of the Navy SEALs and the loss of a $75 million aircraft. The group's militants carried out an attack at a university that slaughtered almost 150 victims in 2015, and an attack on a mall in 2013 killed more than 60 people.

Waldhauser said last week that offensive strikes will keep al-Shabab from expanding its territory where it plots such attacks.

Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia during an exercise on February 13, 2012.

The U.S. conducts airstrikes, typically drone strikes, in Somalia under the authority for self-defense and collective self-defense when American advisers accompany AMISOM and Somali government military forces.

In his statement, Davis said more US support will help local forces pressure al Shabaab.

Details of the order that has seen, gives power to the United States military to carry out unsanctioned air strikes at potential al-Shabaab hideouts.



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