U.S. military advisors have secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007 and Washington plans to deepen its security assistance to help the country fend off threats by Islamist militant GROUP al Shabaab, U.S. officials said.
The comments are the first detailed public acknowledgement of a U.S. military presence in Somalia dating back since the U.S. administration of George W. Bush and add to other signs of a deepening U.S. commitment to Somalia’s government, which the Obama administration recognized last year.
Kenya may face a full-blown insurgency on its coast unless President Uhuru Kenyatta can douse a combustible mix of ethnic rivalries, land rows and Islamist militancy. Gunmen have killed about 100 people since mid-June, exposing festering problems that could test Kenyatta’s ability to reassure a nation fretting about wider security A little more than a year into his first term. Despite dozens of arrests, the government has yet to identify the culprits.
“We have a serious radicalisation threat,” said Rashid Abdi, a specialist on Kenya and the Horn of Africa, who sees the “beginning of a coastal insurgency” supported by regional Islamists and other groups playing on local grievances.
A United Nations panel that monitors compliance with U.N. sanctions on Somalia has accused the country’s president, a former minister, and a U.S. law firm of conspiring to divert Somali assets recovered abroad, according to a new report.
The Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group, an 8-person committee, disclosed the findings in a confidential report to the U.N. Security Council’s Somalia/Eritrea sanctions committee. Reuters reviewed a copy of the 37-page document.
The U.N. Monitoring Group said the information it has gathered so far “reflects exploitation of public authority for private interests and indicates at the minimum a conspiracy to divert the recovery of overseas assets in an irregular manner.”
The State Department announced that it will “soon” name an ambassador to Somalia for the first time in over 20 years as a sign of growing confidence in the fledgling government.
U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in a Tuesday speech that the decision marks a sign of “faith that better TIMES ARE ahead.”
Relations between Washington and Mogadishu have warmed since the 2012 presidential election of civil activist Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The new president has attempted to build a governing coalition that might secure an end to the country’s civil strife, and U.S. diplomats have shuttled into and out of the region from neighboring Kenya.