News / Africa

Ethnic Violence, African Extremists Worry Pentagon Officials

FILE - AFRICOM commander General David Rodriguez
FILE - AFRICOM commander General David Rodriguez
Twenty years after close to one million people were slaughtered in the Rwandan genocide, U.S. military officials are confident that forces are better positioned to prevent a repeat of such mass slaughter.  But, Washington is still concerned about security across the African continent.

Fears run rampant across much of the Central African Republic, where 2,000 people have been killed in ethnic violence since December, and some African peacekeepers already have pulled out.

But U.S. defense officials say the fact that African forces have been able to intervene is a sign things are slowly improving.

“The African forces that now are available that participate in these interventions and those types of things have expanded incredibly in the last 20 years; I mean six nations in Somalia, nine going to 16 in Mali," said General David Rodriguez.

And the commander of the U.S. Africa Command, General David Rodriguez, says American forces also are better positioned to respond, with as many as 6,000 troops on the ground, including some at a forward operating base in Djibouti and trainers on the ground in Uganda, aiding the effort to track and stop warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.

“They continue to get weaker every day, and we’re going to continue to support the efforts of the African Union Regional Task Force to finish this off," he said.

But deep concerns remain about the growing nexus of extremists, especially in northeastern Mali and southwestern Libya.  Rodriguez points to the 2013 attack on a gas facility in Ain Amenas, Algeria, where three al-Qaida-linked groups joined forces.
“They’re also transferring things that are very worrisome like the IED technology, and tactics, techniques and procedures," said Rodriguez.

In addition, U.S. defense officials say they and their African partners worry about the flow of extremist fighters to Syria and their eventual return across sometimes porous borders.

But even as U.S. forces draw down from Afghanistan, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for African Affairs Amanda Dory says don’t expect a heavier U.S. presence in Africa.

“Our small footprint and targeted support, working with willing partners, fulfills both our own strategic approach and is the way our African partners prefer to work with us," said Dory.

However, U.S. officials do say they are considering ways to improve military capabilities, especially in West Africa.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Samson
April 09, 2014 2:57 PM
And Zimbabwe - has anyone heard of what has happened there?
Could be a good idea is someone in the Pentagon took a look back in time, when 20,000 people lost their lives and nothing happened.
Perhaps the General himself can read up about it.


by: ali baba from: new york
April 09, 2014 9:02 AM
the ethnic violence will increase and news show that it is getting worst in Nigeria , central Africa. it is local problem and the approach of Us Gov. the western countries and united nation are avoiding to talk about the action of Saudi Arabia and gulf countries .They send money and people whom they are spreading the message of hate and increase the violence. Saudi send imam to spread the massage of hate with the name of allah. no body is talking about it because Islam is peaceful religion !!!!!!.what about boko haram .they are devoted Muslim whom they are working in the name of Allah to kill innocent people.


by: Not Again from: Canada
April 08, 2014 11:03 PM
All these experts need to get out of the sand box and have a global look at the rapidly deteriorating security situation. There is a global increase in instability; be it in Europe; or in South America; Africa is burning; Asia is having numerous rapidly increasing zones of friction etc. The problems arise from the fact, that small smoldering fires are allowed to go out of control. All this political instability will increase food insecurity, which will continue to increase the rate of political instability.. and so on. It is a deadly spiral. A massive failure of leadership is taking place on the part of the developed countries, whose leaders are distracted by globalization and self introspection; at this rate of increase of instability, the number and magnitude of the conflicts will overtake the situation observed during the first 50 years of the last century. A very bad picture is developing.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid