US military begins adjusting presence in Africa

2020-02-13 11:03
Chadian soldiers belonging to the Joint Task Force gesture while patrolling in Monguno on December 15, 2019.

Chadian soldiers belonging to the Joint Task Force gesture while patrolling in Monguno on December 15, 2019. (Audu Marte)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The US announced on Wednesday an initial plan for adjusting its military presence in Africa amid concerns the country will reduce forces fighting radical jihadists on the continent.

The first change will see part of one infantry unit, around 800 troops, replaced with a similar number of military trainers and advisors to support local forces in "spotlight African countries", Defense Department officials said.

"The message I'm relaying to my (African) partners is we are not walking away," US Army Africa commander Major General Roger Cloutier told reporters.

"We are still engaged."

READ | US wants to reduce presence in Africa, warns top officer

The move is the first resulting from a sweeping Pentagon review of the presence of US forces around the world in an effort to better align that presence with US defence priorities - which list China and Russia as the principle threats to the country.

That could mean reducing US deployments meant to confront Islamic militant threats, including in Africa.

But the Pentagon is also wary of leaving a vacuum in certain areas, like in Africa, for the Chinese and Russians to fill, which could give them strategically valuable footholds.

The US has about 6 000 military personnel throughout Africa, including 800 in West Africa, 500 Special Forces in Somalia and an unspecified number at an air base in Niger.

The US depends especially on French and various African partner forces in West Africa in field operations, but the US strategy has moved to mostly seeking to "contain" the extremist groups rather than degrade them.

"The terrorist threat in Africa remains persistent and, in many places, is growing," said the Pentagon's inspector general in a recent report on US counterterrorism operations in Africa.

Read more on:    us  |  security
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.