US army designates Al-Shabaab as "dangerous" enemy to Americans
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The US army has yet again pointed out Al-Shabaab as one of the groups that target Americans across East Africa and vowed to step up efforts in degrading the militants, who have been fighting to topple the fragile UN-backed Somalia government for over a decade.
The militants pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in 2010 and have since been fighting security forces and civilians, leading to the deaths of hundreds of people. The group has specifically narrowed attacks to Somalia and Kenya, leading to endless security operations in pursuit of them.
Gen Stephen Townsend, the commander US Africa Command, in a message delivered on Friday in commemoration of the September 11 attacks of 2001, said the US army will continue working with African allies in a bid to degrade the terror groups.
The army general who coordinates operations in Africa maintained that the terrorist groups especially those allied to Al-Qaeda and ISIS will not be allowed to speak wings in Africa, adding that they are a common threat to Africa and international partners.
"There are terrorists who wake up every morning thinking of ways to attack our way of life and rob our people and partners of the future they deserve; violent extremist organizations are a common threat and enemy we share with our African and international partners," he said.
"The service members and civilians of U.S. Africa Command work hard to suppress and keep this very real threat at bay. al-Qaeda, the terrorist group responsible for the attacks on 9/11, uses the African continent as a sanctuary and to regroup, but their ambitions are broader than the African continent. Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization aligned with al-Qaeda has expressed their intent to do harm to Americans," he added.
US Army, he noted, will continue fighting the terror groups across Africa resiliently to eliminate any threat that targets civilians. The move, he said, will safeguard the interests of Americans and their allies in Africa, arguing that such groups target innocent people besides that engineering massive destructions.
The Al-Shabaab has continued to target the US in East Africa, further leading to ongoing operations that target their hideouts. For instance, the group targeted Janaa Abdalla's military base in West of Kismayo last week, injuring an American serviceman besides killing two members of the Somali National Army [SNA].
Early this year, the militants raided Manda Airfield in Lamu, Kenya in an attack that left three Americans dead. The attack was the first successful operation by Al-Shabaab which targeted a military base belonging to the US army in an African country.
"Today, U.S. Africa Command continues the fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates across the African continent, protecting the American people as well as our African and international partners. This important work safeguards our nation, strengthens our partners, and protects our way of life from enemies intent on our destruction," Townsend said.
"Our resolve remains strong. We are not tired. We will continue to stand watch and fight when necessary to ensure groups like al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, and ISIS cannot bring harm to Americans or our allies at home and abroad," he added.
Qaeda hijacked four aircraft with the intent to terrorize our citizens and jeopardize our way of life. On this anniversary of the tragic attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001, this day serves as a reminder of the unfortunate reality that terrorism remains a fact in our world. This fact requires our resolute and sustained attention and efforts.
The US army has managed to eliminate at least three Al-Shabaab senior commanders this year in Somalia. They include Bashir Qorgab, the mastermind of the Kenya attack, Yusuf Jiis, and the recent death of Abdulkadir Commandos. In Africa, the US has close to 7000 soldiers and the majority are stationed in Somalia .
Al-Shabaab controls large swathes of rural southern and central Somalia but the group has significantly lost ground due to persistent ground combats and airstrikes targeting their hideouts. The US recently said that her personnel will leave Somalia in 2027 after effectively training the local army.