Head of US Africa Command Visits Somalia

WASHINGTON – The top general for U.S. military operations in Africa visited Somalia Tuesday to meet the Somali government leaders.

U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), said he would “assess the progress” of the U.S. military campaign to keep pressure on the Somali Islamic fighters, al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabab.

The general said he believes the group “possesses the desire and intent to attack the U.S.”.  The trip comes as al-Shabab released a new video of its leader Tuesday calling for fighters to target U.S. interests worldwide.

The video showed footage of al-Shabab fighters who participated in the September 30 attack on an airbase used by the U.S. military to support Somali forces.

The group detonated two car bombs at Baledogle airport in Lower Shabelle region, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) west of Mogadishu on September 30 killing a number of US and Somali soldiers although AFRICOM said no American or Somali forces were injured in the attack.

Townsend discussed security developments with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, more commonly known as “Farmajo,” and the chief of staff of the Somali Armed Forces, Gen. Mohamed Ali Barise, on Tuesday.

He also met with some of the approximately 700 U.S. service members deployed to Somalia during his visit, according to AFRICOM spokesman Air Force Col. Chris Karns.

source: VOA

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