British special forces are fighting a covert war against Islamist terrorists in Somalia, a British tabloid has claimed. The Daily Star reports that
the Special Air Service (SAS) is working with Kenyan forces in order to target leaders of the al-Shabab terrorist organization (1).
Up to 60 SAS soldiers, close to a full squadron, have been deployed to the failed African state, the Star claims. They include include Forward Air Controllers
(FACs) who will call in air strikes against al-Shabab targets by the Kenyan air force.
Kenya, which shares a land border with Somalia, has been waging a military campaign against al-Shabab inside the country for some time.
Britain's use of special forces in Africa has been on the increase in recent times. Last year saw small UKSF teams deploy to Libya to support the rebellion against the Gaddafi regime
. Special Boat Service and Royal Marines Commando teams reportedly scouted the Somali coast line for pirate activity during the summer. Royal Marines have carried out numerous counter-piracy operations in waters off Somalia throughout 2011. Most recently, the SBS were involved in an unsuccessful hostage rescue operation in Nigeria.
In February this year, UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve declared that a proposed plan to launch commando raids and Apache gunship attack missions from HMS Ocean against pirates and al-Shabab forces in Somalia would be legal under international law(2,3). This plan was apparently put on the back burner.