Published on Jul 27, 2012 by BritishForcesNews : The first images of British soldiers working on the ground in Somalia have emerged, raising concerns that their presence could inflame Islamist tensions.
The Times newspaper says two British soldiers in uniform were seen about 20 miles outside their main base in Mogadishu, in an area which was a former al-Shabaab stronghold as recently as May.
One of them appears to be a medic from the Parachute Regiment, and according to the report they were seen patrolling along the edge of a refugee camp, chatting to children and shaking hands.
For a number of years now British troops have been providing training to AMISOM soldiers who then go on to operate in Somalia.
That has been a way of assisting in the fight against militant groups like Al Shabaab in North Africa but without inflaming Islamist tensions by putting British boots on the ground.
The MoD has issued a statement:
"Admitting that a small military support team has deployed to Mogadishu to support AMISOM for six months, which might be extended. They say it complements cross-governmental efforts in support of the British Government's strategy on Somalia."
Back in May,The Department For International Development, United Kingdom (DFID) committed 69 million pounds a year until 2015 to fund aid projects in Somalia, to help stabilise the country, so this deployment could be in support of that.
So these soldiers are probably monitoring what is happening on the ground, gathering information on potential aid projects, and conducting some low level training and advising.