In an overnight raid conducted by Somali security forces and U.S. troops, 30 children were rescued from a terrorist training camp. Four extremist fighters were killed in the operation on the al-Shabab, the East African arm of al-Qaeda, camp. The U.S. announced a separate air strike on an al-Shabab target killed four more of the group’s fighters without leaving any civilian casualties. It was the 30th airstrike against al-Shabab since President Trump authorized US Africa Command to target the group in early 2017.
Al-Shabab has long been accused of forced conscription of child soldiers, a practice that has increased as the group faces mounting pressure from the Somali military. The group was blamed for the October truck bombing in the Somali capitol of Mogadishu that killed 512 people.
A group of US Special Operations Forces soldiers assisted on the raid, an occurrence that has grown more common in recent months. According to CNN, the US has around 500 troops in Somalia providing various types of support, with Navy SEALs often being deployed as military advisors. The US recently suspended some aid to Somalia amid fears of corruption but has continued to provide aid to units in the Somali military that are still being advised by the U.S. military.