News / Africa

US says Kampala Bombings a 'Wake-Up Call' on Somali Extremists

US says Kampala Bombings a 'Wake-Up Call' on Somali Extremists
US says Kampala Bombings a 'Wake-Up Call' on Somali Extremists

The Obama administration's chief Africa diplomat says the suicide bombings by the Somali militant group al-Shabab earlier this month in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, were a "wake-up call" for the world community about the Islamic radicals.  Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson is in Kampala for the African Union summit.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson says the July 11 bombings at two Kampala viewing sites for the World Cup finals show al-Shabab's ability to use terror tactics far beyond Somalia, and should yield greater African and world support for the AU's AMISOM peacekeeping force in the troubled Horn-of-Africa country.

The assistant secretary spoke to reporters in a telephone hook-up from Kampala, where he led a high-level U.S. delegation to the AU summit. He said the bombings, which killed nearly 80 people, established al-Shabab as a force to be reckoned with throughout much of Africa.

"If al-Shabab can strike Kampala, it also is a threat to all of Somalia's regional neighbors, from Djibouti and Ethiopia and Kenya all the way down to Tanzania," Carson said.  "This is the first time that we have seen Shahab use suicide tactics outside of the south-central area of the country.  This constitutes a threat and I think the regional states are genuinely concerned about the capacity of Shabab to do this."

The AU summit endorsed plans by the East African regional economic bloc IGAD to send another 2,000 peacekeeping troops to Somalia, to bolster the contingent of more than 5,000 Burundian and Ugandan soldiers.

The United States has provided logistical support for the AMISOM force and Carson said he hopes al-Shabab's newly-demonstrated terror potential will prompt countries in Africa and beyond to make good on existing pledges of help for AMISOM and the struggling Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

Carson said there was a heavy focus at the AU summit on the need to reduce civilian casualties attributed to AMISOM in Somalia.

He said helping AMISOM improve its battlefield intelligence capabilities, and providing it with more accurate artillery and other weapons will ease the problem.  He also said some civilian deaths can be attributed to the way al-Shahab operates.

"I think that some of the tactics employed by al-Shabab are responsible for some of the civilian casualties that have been reported in the press," added Carson.  "Al-Shabab moves in and out of market areas, in and out of civilian residential areas, with the clear intent of using those markets and those residential units where civilians reside, as a place where they can launch their mortars and fire their weapons."

AMISOM has been accused of indiscriminately shelling civilian areas.  Carson said he believes there have been no deliberate attacks on civilians, but acknowledged the problem has the potential of turning the Somali population against the AU force.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid