MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) has responded to a new message from the leader of the Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabaab – who called for attacks on US and French interests in Djibouti as the Horn of Africa country’s presidential election nears.
A spokesman for AFRICOM, Col. Christopher Karns, speaking to VOA Somali said that the US Africa Command was aware of the recent audio release from Al-Shabaab calling for attacks on US and French interests in Djibouti.
“US Africa Command takes these statements seriously,” Karns said.
Al-Shabaab leader Abu Obayda Ahmed Omar had called for youth in Djibouti to carry out lone wolf attacks on US and French interests in Djibouti and accused the country’s long-time president Ismail Omar Geele of turning Djibouti into military bases “from where every war against the Muslims in East Africa is planned”.
“Al-Shabaab remains a persistent threat to US interests in East Africa. This is why it remains important to apply continued pressure on the Al-Shabaab network and isolate the threat it presents to the region and beyond,” he added.
The statement has come just a few months after US withdrew most of its nearly 700 troops from Somalia by mid January.
“We will not telegraph actions or our intentions. It would not be in Al-Shabaab’s best interests to incite a response from us,” he said. “We remain committed to security in East Africa and are postured to respond to threats.”
The threats from Al-Shabaab come just days before Djibouti’s citizens head to the polls as critics of the incumbent president say results were already decided to ensure Geele’s long-time rule of the tiny East African nation to continue.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group previously attacked Djibouti on May 24, 2014 in double suicide bomb explosions at a restaurant popularly attended by westerns, killing at least three people.
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