Somalia Asks US to Step Up Drone Strikes Against Qaeda-Linked Fighters
In an interview with Time this week, the country’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, said the US should consider sending drones to the country, if only to counter Somalia’s “dangerous” al-Shabaab militiamen, al-Qaida militants and their allies. The militants’ rise in the Horn of Africa has coincided with an influx of African refugees in both Europe and the US. The US has recently begun to deploy troops in Somalia, but the administration has repeatedly said it does not want a repeat of the chaos of 2011, when African militias drove the US military out of Mogadishu.
Somalia’s president: Drone strikes ‘good’, but can’t compare with US action against al-Shabaab
The American defense and intelligence chiefs are set to meet in secret to decide how many Reaper drone strikes Washington should authorize each year against al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia.
The meeting on Wednesday — called by the US commander in the country, General Thomas Waldhauser, and attended by the head of the Pentagon’s Africa bureau, General Thomas Waldhauser, and the US Africa Command chief, General Thomas Waldhauser, as well as the US ambassador to Somalia, William Burns — is set to discuss whether to authorize the first drone attacks against al-Shabaab since 2007 and whether to expand the attacks beyond al-Shabaab operatives.
Somali President Mohamed said the US needed to step up its targeted drone strikes against the al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia.
The US drone strikes in Africa have taken place in Somalia and Kenya, where Washington has carried out 26 strikes, including 14 in Somalia last year.
“We can’t compare the situation in Somalia with the United States action against al-Qaida affiliates here,” Mohamed said in an interview with Time magazine. “They are the same fighters. They are the same al-Qaida affiliates. We are talking about the same groups of people who are trying to carry out the same terrorist operations.”
Mohamed said, however, that the US should consider sending drones to the country. If only to counter Somalia