NAIROBI, Kenya – The United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, has arrived in Djibouti as he begins his journey across Africa. This visit is significant as the continent grapples with violent extremism and political instability, leading to the rise of military regimes in several West African countries and posing a threat to democracy.
The choice of Djibouti for Austin’s visit holds much importance, as the country is home to the US Africa Command. This force has been actively involved in stabilization efforts across the continent, alongside its headquarters in Germany. Djibouti shares borders with Somalia.
Somalia, the neighboring country, has been plagued by the Al-Shabaab menace for over 16 years. The US Africa Command has played a crucial role by providing aerial surveillance technical support, training, and equipping the Danab Special Forces in Somalia.
After his visit to Djibouti, where discussions on the security situation in the Horn of Africa will take place, Lloyd Austin will travel to Kenya. Kenya is a strategic partner of the United States in East Africa. His trip will conclude in Angola. Kenya is home to the Manda Bay Naval base, which was targeted in an attack by Al-Shabaab militants in 2020.
“Wheels up at Andrews_JBA en route to Africa to visit Djibouti, Kenya, and Angola. Our objective is to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the region, foster African-led solutions to shared security challenges, and emphasize the importance of our partnerships on the continent,” said Austin before departing from the United States.
“Wheels down in Djibouti. I will meet with President Guelleh and Defense Minister Bourhan to strengthen the robust defense relationship between our countries. Additionally, I will visit our troops at Camp Lemonnier,” added the Secretary of Defense upon his arrival in Djibouti.
This trip comes a few months after President Joe Biden authorized the redeployment of troops to Somalia, who had been withdrawn following a decree signed by former President Donald Trump. With Al-Shabaab increasing its activities both in Somalia and Kenya, the US made the decision to send soldiers back to the country.