Tag Archives: AFRICOM

Sahel: France hopes US stays

France hopes the United States will not diminish support for French military operations in West Africa, where jihadist groups affiliated with Islamic State and Al-Qaeda are increasing their activities.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made the appeal as Defence Minister Florence Parly was due to meet U.S. counterparts on January 27 to discuss the crisis in the Sahel.

Last year the Pentagon announced plans to withdraw hundreds of military personnel from Africa as it redirects resources to address challenges from China and Russia after two decades focused on counter-terrorism operations. Those changes are following an ongoing global troop review spearheaded by Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

The possibility has alarmed France, which relies on U.S. intelligence and logistics for its 4,500-strong troops in the Sahel.
I hope they will be rational to keep this partnership … and that good sense will prevail,” le Drian told reporters.

The U.S. currently has 6,000 military personnel in Africa. Although some experts say a re-positioning of forces is overdue, many U.S. politicians and experts share French concerns about jihad spreading in Sahel region.

Kenya: Al-Shabaab attacks U.S. base

In early monrning hours around 4 AM Al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on the Manda-Magogoni naval base in Lamu. Heavy exchange of fire is ongoing, Lamu County Commissioner Irungu Macharia confirms. (Image: sodial media).

In a brief statement the US military command for Africa, AFRICOM, confirmed there had been an attack, but did not provide any detail.

“U.S. Africa Command acknowledges there was an attack at Manda Bay Airfield, Kenya and is monitoring the situation. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the incident. As facts and details emerge, we will provide an update.”

Militants from the Somali Islamist Shebaab group, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, launched an attack on a military base operated by American and Kenyan forces in Lamu (north of the country), near the Somali border, according to a local official Agnece France press reports. The press-release of the militants circulates in social media.

In the press-release Al-Shabaab group said the raid resulted in “severe casualties on both American and Kenyan troops stationed there.”

“The Mujahideen fighters covertly entered enemy lines, successfully stormed the heavily fortified military base and have now taken effective control of a part of the base,” the armed group announced.

The suicide bomber involved in the attack on Camp Simba in Manda Bay and fighters have taken control of part of the base, they claim. There are indications that plane was set on fire, while the heavy cloude of smoke has been seen from afar.