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Terrorism in Africa Undermines America

General Michael E. Langley of the United States Africa Command stated that terrorism throughout Africa poses the most immediate threat to America. Crises in Africa create conditions for violent extremist groups. US Africa Command and Camp Lemonnier combat terrorism in Africa, defending American interests and Allies.

USAFRICOM conducted 15 airstrikes against al-Shabaab
USAFRICOM airstrike against al-Shabaab

United States Africa Command and Camp Lemonnier.

United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM), responsible for all of Africa except Egypt, is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, with its only permanent military base located near Djibouti on the Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier. 

Camp Lemonnier is a U.S. Navy base run by the naval commander of Europe, Africa, and Central regions through the U.S. naval forces in Africa and the naval installations command. The base hosts about 4,000 personnel from the U.S. and its allies, including military, civilian, and defense contractors.

USAFRICOM is America's instrument for defending its interests in Africa. It offers military education, intelligence sharing, maritime and cyber domain awareness, medical training, and foreign military sales through the Department of State. It also uses lethal force when necessary and authorized to protect American lives and assist partners in fighting terrorism.

US_Army_Training_West_Africa
US_Army_Training_West_Africa

General Michael E. Langley is the Commander of the United States Africa Command.

United States Africa Command commander, General Michael E. Langley, United States Marine Corps, presented a statement on African Security in a Global Context to the Senate Armed Services Committee in his annual Posture Statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 16, 2023.

Langley remarked that Russia and China are increasing their influence in Africa, often at the expense of democracy, human rights, and food security. Russia uses a private military company to support its interests in various African countries, while China leverages its economic and military power to gain access to natural resources and markets. Both countries pose challenges for African nations and American interests in the region. Neglecting African security may divert U.S. resources from major power conflicts.

Langley states, “The vast potential of African peoples to lead the way in worldwide growth is up against a rising tide of existential challenges. Threats from within the continent are transforming into threats to America's interests and allies. Terrorism, poverty, food and water insecurity, protracted conflict, climate change, and mass human migration disproportionately shatter African lives. Solutions to these colossal problems must be a shared burden, with African nations at the helm of concerted international efforts and a U.S. whole of nation contribution that produces sustainable outcomes. Since 2008, USAFRICOM has been proud to defend American interests and lead the U.S. Department of Defense's inclusive approach to helping African peoples achieve positive outcomes for all.”

Camp_Lemonnier_Djibouti
Camp_Lemonnier_Djibouti

USAFRICOM and Terrorist Attacks in the Sahel Region and Somalia.

Terrorist attacks in the Sahel region accounted for over a third of the world's terrorism deaths in 2021. The Sahel region countries are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. 

In 2022, with the assistance of the Somali government, a Somali-led offensive conducted 15 airstrikes against al-Shabaab with the support of USAFRICOM. The operation also provided financial, material, training, logistical, and medical support to Somalia's counterterrorism forces.

USAFRICOM is also combating associates of al-Qaeda's second-largest and fastest-growing branch in Africa—Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam walMuslimin (JNIM). JNIM is leading the kidnapping economy in Burkina Faso. JNIM is strategically using kidnappings to assert and maintain control over territories under its influence. 

JNIM Kidnappings of nationals in Burkina Faso surged to record-breaking levels in 2021 and continued at this unprecedented scale throughout 2022. JNIM’s kidnappings of American citizens in Burkina Faso weaken the government, terrorize the people, empower the terrorists, destabilize the region, and challenge the U.S. and its allies.

“Crises in Africa set the stage for violent extremist organizations (VEOs) to grow, and for America's strategic competitors to bid for international allies. As the home of some of al-Qaeda's and ISIS's largest and most active branches, Africa is now the epicenter of international terrorism.” - General Michael E. Langley

US_Navy_in_the_Horn_of_Africa
US_Navy_in_the_Horn_of_Africa

Terrorism in Africa Undermines America

Terrorism attacks in Africa pose a major potential threat to the U.S. homeland, as some of the terrorist groups have links to global networks, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, that have targeted the U.S. in the past. Terrorism attacks in Africa threaten the lives and security of millions of people, including Americans who live, work, or travel in the region.

For example, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was responsible for the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the ambassador. Therefore, the U.S. should not ignore or downplay the terrorist threat in Africa but rather support the African countries and partners in their efforts to combat terrorism and address its root causes. 

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