News / Africa

US Military Expands Presence in Africa

US General Carter Ham (file photo)US General Carter Ham (file photo)
x
US General Carter Ham (file photo)
US General Carter Ham (file photo)
Luis Ramirez
PENTAGON - The commander of U.S. forces for Africa, Army General Carter Ham, said Monday that the U.S. military is increasing its operations on the continent as terrorist groups begin to work closer together to carry out attacks in the region.

The head of the U.S. Africa Command, General Carter Ham, said the terrorist threat in Africa is growing and that U.S. forces under his command are focused on three main groups:  al Shabab in East Africa, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in the north, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.

“Each of those three organizations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat.  What really concerns me are the indications that the three organizations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts, in other words, to establish a cooperative effort amongst the three most violent organizations.  And I think that’s a real problem for us and for African security in general,” Ham said.

Ham told African military officers meeting near the Pentagon that U.S. commanders have indications that the three groups are likely sharing funds and training in using explosive materials.

The United States’ new defense strategy calls for a greater focus on Africa, but only with a limited presence of U.S. personnel there to train and assist the militaries of African countries counter security threats.

Last year, President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of about 100 U.S. troops to the region to help the armed forces of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic in their campaign against rebel leader Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA.

Ham said that enabling the militaries of partner nations is a more effective approach than sending U.S. forces to do the work in the vast area where the LRA is operating.  

“We can help in terms of logistics, some information and intelligence sharing, of communications, and a little bit of mobility.  I think that’s the best way for us to provide what I would term unique U.S. military capabilities to assist our African partner,” Ham said.

In efforts like the hunt for Joseph Kony, General Ham said U.S. forces engage in surveillance activities, but he noted that happens only with the consent of host countries.

The United States has only one permanent military base in Africa, in Djibouti, with about 2,000 American personnel.  Ham said there are no plans to build any other base on the continent.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs