US military says ready to tackle Al-Shabaab over Djibouti threat
NAIROBI, Kenya - The United States has vowed to take the threats issued by Al-Shabaab seriously, adding that the safety of her troops and allied forces in East Africa remains her topmost priority in line with her security arrangements.
US Africa Command and the French troops based in Djibouti have been threatened by the Al-Shabaab militants, who issued a stern warning through her leader Ahmed Omar alias Abu Ubaydah over the weekend.
A spokesperson, Colonel Christopher Karns, told VOA Somali that the U.S. Africa Command is aware of the recent audio release from al-Shabab calling for attacks on U.S. and French interests in Djibouti.
“U.S. Africa Command takes these statements seriously,” Karns said.
“Al-Shabab remains a persistent threat to U.S. interests in East Africa. This is why it remains important to apply continued pressure on the al-Shabab network and isolate the threat it presents to the region and beyond,” he added.
In newly released audio, Ahmed Omar Abu Ubaidah accuses the leaders of Djibouti of turning the country into a military base “from where every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned.”
Abu Ubaidah specifically called on the youth in Djibouti to “carry out individual lone wolf martyrdom operations” to expel the French and Americans.”
“Make American and French interests in Djibouti the highest priority of your targets,” the audio posted by al-Shabab media says.
Abu Ubaidah said his group was ready to offer “safe refuge” and “prepare and train” those willing to migrate from Djibouti if they cannot fulfill the “individual obligation of jihad.”
The US has already withdrawn its troops from Somalia, the home base of the Al-Shabaab group, following a directive by the Pentagon. Most of the troops who were serving in Somalia were relocated to elsewhere in East Africa.