AFRICOM spokesperson Colonel Christopher P. Karns confirmed to VOA Somali that the repositioning of the troops was completed ahead of the deadline in a presidential directive last December ordering the troop removal by mid-January.
The number of US military personnel in Somalia ranged from 650 to 800 people. US troops supported and mentored an elite Somali unit known as the Danab “lightning” brigade.
Karns said a “very limited” US presence remains in Somalia.
“For force protection considerations, I won't go into roles, responsibilities, locations, or the very limited remaining US presence for force protection and operational reasons,” he said.
“The president's directive has been carried out,” Karns noted.
US military officials earlier said most of the personnel will be repositioned in the region, but Karns would not provide a breakdown of where US forces have been moved to in Africa “due to ongoing operations.”
AFRICOM claimed the repositioning was finished a couple of days early while still applying pressure to al-Shabab in the process. On January 13, the day of the completion, AFRICOM reported the third airstrike against al-Shabab terrorist group this year.