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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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