US Air War in Somalia Goes Dark

© AP Photo / Kirsty WigglesworthGeneral Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drone - Sputnik International
US President Donald Trump subtly announced that the Pentagon’s many overseas operations would become even more secretive during the first Cabinet hearing of 2019.

The Pentagon disclosed that it will no longer furnish public reports on its missions in Somalia during a Friday announcement in which US Africa Command said it recently carried out two major bombings in the country.

This announcement was apparently the final one from AFRICOM.

The job of disclosing the Pentagon's air war is now up to the Somali government, a spokesman for AFRICOM told the Associated Press Friday.

02/08/19 UPDATE: AFRICOM has evidently resumed the practice of announcing enemy casualty data.

Last Saturday, US airstrikes killed approximately 54 al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in a major bombing attack, while the latest airstrike on Wednesday occurred in the same area (near Jilib in Middle Juba region) and killed one. According to AP, Trump has expanded the airstrike campaign against al-Shabab terrorists, with at least 47 strikes occurring since Trump took office.

This training, which included firing multiple weapon systems and different fire maneuvers, is to prepare the Marines to provide limited support in the event of a crisis in the U.S. Africom area of responsibility - Sputnik International
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Trump announced that his administration would hew to a new level of secrecy during the first Cabinet meeting of 2019, though that declaration did not receive much attention in the press at the time.

"And one of the things I've told the secretary and other people: We do these reports on our military. Some IG [inspector general] goes over there, who are mostly appointed by President [Barack] Obama — but we'll have ours too — and he goes over there, and they do a report on every single thing that's happening, and they release it to the public," Trump said.

"We're fighting wars, and they're doing reports and releasing it to the public? Now, the public means the enemy. The enemy reads those reports; they study every line of it. Those reports should be private reports. Let him do a report, but they should be private reports and be locked up," he said at the January 3 meeting.

Reports by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) are one of those rare public glimpses into what's happening in one of America's several overseas military engagements.

In this photo taken Monday, April 16, 2018, a U.S. and Niger flag are raised side by side at the base camp for air forces and other personnel supporting the construction of Niger Air Base 201 in Agadez, Niger. - Sputnik International
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SIGAR's reports include information such as the number of weapons released from conventional strike aircraft, as well as from drones, Sputnik News has reported.

John Sopko, appointed to head SIGAR in 2012, lamented the absurd bureaucratic embarrassments of the Afghanistan War in May 2016, according to a report in Politico. A Pentagon effort to bolster Afghanistan's cashmere industry saw the Department of Defense spend $6 million on tasks such as importing nine light-haired Italian goats. "We do not know how much money was spent on goats or if the goats were eaten or not. We do not know. This is so poorly managed," Sopko said at the time.

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