US Africa Command Chief Vows Support for Somali Government

VOA News
By Alan Boswell
August 21, 2009

The top general from the U.S. military’s Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, said on Friday that the rise of radical Islamist militant group al-Shabab in Somalia makes East Africa a central focus of the U.S. military on the continent.

General William Ward has pledged continued support to Somalia’s transitional federal government and the African Union forces operating there. He made his remarks during a visit to Nairobi, Kenya, which is a key U.S. ally in region.

The general said that al-Shabab’s alleged link to international terrorist group al-Qaida means that the region is a priority for AFRICOM on the continent. The commander thanked Kenya for its ongoing partnership with U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. …

When asked about U.S. warnings to Eritrea against its alleged support of al-Shabab, the U.S. general condemned any outside support for the Somali rebels.

“Any time a nation or a state is purposely doing things that incite, contribute to instability, insecurity – that is something that none of us would agree with. And we would hope that any legitimate government, any legitimate nation would in fact be doing otherwise,” he said. …

The American base at Molesworth (Cambridgeshire) is crucially linked to AFRICOM.