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Djibouti: General Rodriguez beliefs Al-Shabaab is a Threat to U.S. interests

Djibouti (HAN) May 19, 2014. By, Marthe van der Wolf of VOA Africa. The United States Military command for Africa -AFRICOM commanding general David Rodriguez, believes that  Al-Shabab will continue to attack nations that contribute troops to the Somalia effort.
The commanding general of AFRICOM, David Rodriguez, said despite the fact that Al-Shabab’s area of control has decreased in recent months, the militant group continues to be a threat. 

“We think that they are going to continue to go after the troop contributing countries to try to disrupt and frustrate the populations of those countries,” Rodriguez said, “so that the support to the AMISOM effort is limited from those nations. So what they want to do is get those nations out of Somalia and they are going to threaten them, they are going to go after their homelands to show and to demonstrate to the populations of those countries that it’s not worth the continued efforts to support AMISOM.”

Kenya was attacked again by the militant group Friday when two car bombs were set off in its capital, Nairobi, and 10 people were killed. The attack came right after countries such as Britain and the United States had issued travel advisories for certain regions in Kenya because of security threats.
General Rodriguez said Al-Shabab remains a threat to U.S. interests in the region and in Europe and has stated a wish to attack the U.S. mainland as well.
“The challenge is that Al-Shabab is now really focusing on asymmetric attacks and they adjusted some of their strategy about a year ago by conducting the sensational terrorist type attacks,” Rodriguez explained.

The Somali militant group Al-Shabab attacked a popular Westgate Mall in Nairobi last September, killing 67 people and making world headlines for days.
General Rodriguez said the U.S. is training AMISOM troops before they go into Somalia to improve their capabilities. “And then we are working with each of the troop contributing nations to help them develop the capacities to mainly share information among all their agencies to get the best intelligence picture that they can get on the threats to their nations and their homelands,” he said.

“The partnership between African nations and the United States is important,” said U.S. Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of AFRICOM.  “The African continent presents significant opportunities and challenges to African and U.S. interests, including matters of security and stability.
AFRICOM also has a small team at the AMISOM headquarters to support the mission against Al-Shabab.


Photo: Media Symposium hosted by the U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs Office in Garmisch, Germany


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