By Stephen Losey
Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, the new commander of U.S. Africa Command, visited Somalia on Wednesday and pledged to continue pressuring violent extremists such as al-Shabab.
Townsend is now on his first trip to the African continent since he took charge of AFRICOM July 26. He met with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre in the capital city of Mogadishu, as well as U.S. Ambassador Donald Yamamoto and senior Somali military leadership, AFRICOM said in a release. Read more
U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale will visit Khartoum on Wednesday for talks on the democratic transition in Sudan with the leaders of the Transitional Military Council and the Forces of Freedom and Change.
Hale’s visit to Sudan is part of a regional tour including Kenya, Somalia and Sudan from 5 to 7 August. Read more
The office of Somalia’s president says he is giving up his United States citizenship but it is not immediately clear why.
A statement posted on Twitter on Thursday says President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed made the decision voluntarily, with lawyers involved. It says Somalia’s constitution allows for dual citizenship.
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By Ibrahim Hirsi
For the better part of the 2000s, Yasin Jama spent most of his free time with friends at Starbucks coffee shops in Minneapolis, contemplating what he could do for Somalia, especially the semi-autonomous northeastern state of Puntland from which he hails. Read more
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed veteran U.S. diplomat James Swan as the U.N.’s top envoy for Somalia, replacing Nicholas Haysom of South Africa, who was expelled in January.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq announced the appointment Thursday and said Swan spent most of his career “in African countries facing complex political transitions.”
He served as U.S. ambassador to Congo from 2013-2016, U.S. special representative for Somalia from 2011-2013, ambassador to Djibouti from 2008-2011 and deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2006-2008.
Somali officials said Haysom meddled in their internal matters when he raised concerns about the basis for the arrest of Mukhtar Robow. The Security Council expressed regret that Somalia expelled a U.N. envoy who questioned the arrest of the extremist group defector-turned-political candidate.
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By Katie Lange
U.S. service members with the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa have spent the past few weeks helping victims of Cyclone Idai, a devastating storm that slammed into Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March.
Most Americans don’t know a whole lot about the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa — CJTF HOA, for short — or our relationship with the countries it involves, but the region in which it operates is vital to U.S. interests.
Not sure why? Here are some details that might help explain it. Read more
By Brian Brinker
President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will extend the national emergency declaration in Somalia for at least one more year. The Pentagon, however, is buckling down for an even longer mission, one that could extend for seven years or more. President Trump cited the Islamist insurgency in the country as an “unusual and extraordinary threat.”
Currently, the U.S. Special Operations Forces are working to establish and train an elite unit of Somali soldiers to combat al-Shabaab militants. The group has been linked to al-Qaeda. While President Trump has sought to diminish America’s large and expensive military presence across the world, some hotspots remain too dangerous to ignore. Read more