US Army General Stephen Townsend, commander of US Africa Command, was joined by acting US Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller on a multi-day trip between 25 and 27 November to Djibouti and Somalia.
While there, senior American defence officials received a firsthand overview of US Africa Command’s (Africom’s) operations in East Africa and recognized US service members over the Thanksgiving holiday.
At Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the official party received a comprehensive Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa overview of actions and activities on the continent, highlighting the strategic importance of the region.
“Global competitors understand Africa’s importance to their strategic interests,” said Townsend. “What we do in East Africa matters to US national security and it is important our forces understand the positive impact they are having.”
While in Djibouti, Townsend also met with service members and participated in a “socially distanced” Thanksgiving while there.
“Our forces are hard at work strengthening partnerships, advancing US interests, and enhancing regional security. In a challenging environment, our forces are positioned and ready to respond to emerging issues and crises,” said Townsend. “It is important for me to thank our deployed service members for making a difference.”
Following the visit in Djibouti, Townsend accompanied Miller to Mogadishu, Somalia, to meet with US Ambassador to Somalia, Donald Yamamoto. During the visit, discussions centred on security and US whole of government programs and initiatives.
Townsend continued on to an outpost in Somalia to recognize US service members.
“We enjoy close cooperation with our East African partners. Partnership and a range of US assistance remains critically important to the stability, security, and prosperity of this region,” said Townsend. “We must continue to work together and deliver whole-of-government, international, and African solutions to address regional issues.”
While in East Africa, Townsend also met with US Ambassador to Djibouti, Larry Andre, and Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf.