President Donald Trump has given the US military greater authority to attack militants in Somalia.

The US provides military support to Somalia in its fight against al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda affiliate, which is waging an armed insurgency in the country.

The head of US forces in Africa had asked for more flexibility and faster responses.

A Pentagon spokesman said the White House had approved its request for “additional precision fired”.

This effectively means US special forces will be able to call in air strikes more quickly and accompany partner troops in more advanced positions, US media report.

“The additional support provided by this authority will help deny al-Shabab safe havens from which it could attack US citizens or US interests in the region,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.