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.
Three Americans, among them one U.S. military servicemember and two contractors, were killed in al Shabaab militia attack on a military base in Kenya exploited by both U.S. and Kenyan forces, the army officials said, referring to Sunday events in Manda Bay Airfield in Lamu county, close to the Somali border.
The military’s Africa Command informed about the deaths and clarified that two other Americans who are working for the U.S. Department of Defense were wounded during the attack
The wounded Americans are currently in stable condition and being evacuated,” Africa Command (AFRICOM) said in a statement.
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.
Zimbabwe denounced a U.S. administration decision to curb imports of diamonds from its Marange field, branding the claim the country uses forced labor at the operations “a shameless lie.”
“Invoking the repulsive prospect of alleged forced labor is a new nomenclature for seeking to bar Zimbabwe’s diamonds from the international markets,” said in a statement issued by officials in Harare. “This move constitutes a grave and serious attack on Zimbabwe’s interests and is no less than a manifestation of undeclared sanctions.”
One U.S. special operations soldier was killed and four U.S. service members wounded in an “enemy attack” on Friday, June 8, in Somalia, the U.S. military said — casualties that are likely to put renewed scrutiny on America’s counterterror operations in Africa.
It’s the first public announcement of a U.S. military combat death on the continent since four U.S. service members were killed in a militant ambush in Niger in October.
Al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group said in a statement Friday.
The U.S. has about 1,000 special operations personnel in Africa. The last killing of a U.S. service member in Somalia was in May 2017 during an counterterrorist operation west of Mogadishu.
President Donald Trump paid tribute on Twitter Friday night, offering “thoughts and prayers” to the families of the soldier who was killed and those who were wounded. “They are truly all HEROES,” he tweeted.
The US service member killed in action was a Navy SEAL, a US defense official told CNN.
A US military official confirmed that this is the first US service member killed in action in Somalia since 1993, when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 American soldiers were killed in the Battle for Mogadishu.
The incident occurred Thursday during an operation against local al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab 40 miles west of Mogadishu in the Shebelle region. The wounded, including an interpreter who was also a US citizen, are receiving medical attention, another US defense official told CNN. The troops came under small arms fire.