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US withdraws last troops from Somalia

STUTTGART, GERMANY - MARCH 09: (L-R) US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff US General James Cartwright, outgoing Africa Command commander US General William Ward and incoming Africa Command commander US General Carter Ham take part in the AFRICOM change of command ceremony on March 9, 2011 in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates's cautious statements on possible military action against Libya do not reflect a rift inside the US administration, his spokesman said on March 9. (Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images)
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff US General James Cartwright, outgoing Africa Command commander US General William Ward and incoming Africa Command commander US General Carter Ham take part in the AFRICOM change of command ceremony on March 9, 2011 in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart, Germany [Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images]

The US has completely withdrawn its troops from Somalia, US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced yesterday.

"The repositioning of the troops was completed ahead of the deadline in a presidential directive last December ordering the troop removal by mid-January," AFRICOM Spokesperson Christopher Karns told Russia Today (RT), noting that there was still a "very limited" US presence in Somalia.

He pointed out that his country would continue to engage with Somali forces and maintain pressure against Al-Shabaab militant group.

"Our focus very much remains fixed and focused on Al-Shabaab," Karns asserted, adding that it would "not be wise for them to test us."

US officials recently affirmed that most of the personnel would be repositioned to neighbouring countries including Kenya. However, Karns did not provide a breakdown of where US forces have been moved to in Africa, "due to ongoing operations."

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