News / Africa

Obama Approves Sending US Military Aid to Somalia

Soldiers from the Somali National Army (SNA) participate in a training exercise in Mogadishu March 28, 2013 in this picture provided by the AU/UN Information Support Team.
Soldiers from the Somali National Army (SNA) participate in a training exercise in Mogadishu March 28, 2013 in this picture provided by the AU/UN Information Support Team.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
President Barack Obama determined on Monday that Somalia may receive U.S. military assistance, a step seen as a sign of improving relations with a country grappling to contain militants linked to al-Qaeda.
 
Obama issued a memo to Secretary of State John Kerry that said Somalia is eligible for ``defense articles and defense services'' under U.S. arms export and foreign aid laws.
 
Security in the Somali capital of Mogadishu has improved since the Islamist group al-Shabab fled the city after a military offensive in August 2011. Bombings and assassinations are still frequent.
 
A senior Obama administration official said the aid authorization reflects a move by the United States toward more normal relations with Somalia.
 
“It is not based on any particular new threat assessment or any specific plans to undertake action,” the official said.
 
Obama's order is an initial step that allows Kerry to consider providing defense aid to Somalia.
 
“It does not constitute a decision to provide particular assistance or to change the nature or our assistance for Somalia's security sector,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.
 
The United Nations Security Council last month partially lifted an arms embargo on Somalia to strengthen government forces fighting al-Shabab militants, which have been linked to al Qaeda.
 
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on March 28 that his government expects to receive its first shipment of light weapons within two months. Heavy weapons are still banned under the remaining U.N. arms embargo on Somalia.
 
The United States formally recognized Mohamud's government on Jan. 17, the first time Washington has recognized a Somali government since 1991.
 
Fighting between U.S. forces and Somali militia in 1993 proved disastrous for the Americans, resulting in 18 dead. The battle was chronicled in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid