US army donates ammunition to forces operating within East Africa
NAIROBI, Kenya - The US Africa Command donated critical supplies to forces operating within East Africa, an exercise geared towards strengthening the military teams working within the region, which has been struggling with violent extremism for over a decade.
AFRICOM partnered with Multinational Heavy Airlift Wing [HAW] to deliver the donations, which would now help the forces within the region, which has been a hotbed of Al-Shabaab militants, an Al-Qaida linked group which has caused havoc within East Africa since 2008.
The mission, AFRICOM said, is an example of how the network created by the United States’ continued international engagement and partnerships around the world works to enable capacity and logistics development in Africa.
Brig. Gen. Leonard Kosinski, the US Air Force member and Director for Logistics in AFRICOM, who also participated in the mission, noted the teamwork and interoperability of this HAW crew who hailed from Poland, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S.
"Working with this multinational HAW not only strengthens partnerships, but brings together collective international capability to support Africa,” Kosinski said.
Some of the materials delivered included medical personal protective equipment and blood to support the forward-deployed field medical unit in East Africa. The shipment also included ammunition and supplies to address mutual threats in the region.
“Ensuring the right capability across an 11-million square-mile theater of operations is no easy task. With the help of the HAW, Air Forces Africa, Naval Forces Africa, and others, we delivered critical supplies and equipment to increase assistance to our African partners and address mutual security challenges," said Kosinski.
"When challenges arise, partnership, cooperation, and support will be key to finding common solutions to international problem sets," he added in a statement on Friday.
The AFRICOM Deployment Distribution Operations Center [ADDOC], he noted, has limited access to air transport assets, and typically has only a few C-130s at its disposal to meet a wide variety of mission requirements across the 53-country U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility.
"U.S. Africa Command remains committed to optimizing and ensuring the continued development of logistics on the continent," said Kosinski.
ADDOC relies on the HAW for Special Airlift Missions, particularly for channel flights to West Africa. However, this mission to Djibouti marked an important milestone for the international partnership: the HAW can be leveraged to support logistics requirements in East Africa.
"We were able to meet with several distribution centers to ensure supply lines remain open and strong," said Kosinski. "When you consider the vast distances on the African continent, maintaining strong logistics lines and distribution centers maintains key support for our African partners."
The US has close to 7,000 servicemen across Africa and its main operation center is in Djibouti. Gen. Stephen Townsend was picked as the commander AFRICOM in 2018 and visited Djibouti early this month, after his famous trip to Kenya and Somalia in February.
In Somalia, the home base to Al-Shabaab, the US has close to 500 servicemen who among others, are responsible for training and equipping of the special Danab forces. The troops are based in Balligodle army base.
For the last several months, US Africa Command has been waging airstrikes against the militants in central and southern Somalia, leading to the death of close to 60 of them. Some of high profile militants who have been killed in the last six months include Bashir Qorgab and Yusuf Jiis.
Bashir Qorgab, who had $5 million bounty placed on him, was linked to the deadly Manda Airfield attack early this year in Kenya which saw three Americans killed. The airfield plays host to the US Marine Corps and is training to Kenya's Special Forces.
Last week, State Department doubted the capacity of Somali National Army [SNA] to take over security responsibilities from AMISOM troops, an indication that the foreign troops in Somalia could stay longer than anticipated.