U.S. Has Sent 40 Tons of Munitions to Aid Somali Government – By Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post Staff Writer)

June 27th, 2009 Print Print Email Email

The U.S. government has provided about 40 tons of weapons and ammunition to shore up the besieged government of Somalia in the past six weeks and has sent funding to train Somali soldiers, (more…)

The U.S. government has provided about 40 tons of weapons and ammunition to shore up the besieged government of Somalia in the past six weeks and has sent funding to train Somali soldiers, a senior State Department official said yesterday, in the most complete accounting to date of the new American efforts in the strife-torn country.

The official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the military aid was worth less than $10 million and had been approved by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the National Security Council.

“We do not want to see Somalia become a safe haven for foreign terrorists,” the official said.

Hard-line Islamist rebels allegedly linked to al-Qaeda have launched an offensive to topple Somalia’s relatively moderate government, which has appealed to the United States and other African countries for help. The fighting has killed 250 civilians and forced more than 160,000 people out of their homes in the past month, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

In an indication of the rebels’ growing power, they held a ceremony Thursday in the capital, Mogadishu, in which they chopped off a hand and foot from each of four men convicted of stealing cellphones and other items, according to news reports from the region. The punishment was in line with the rebels’ harsh version of Islam. The United States considers the rebel group, al-Shabab, a terrorist organization.

Somalia has been racked by violence since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991. U.S. officials say the bloodshed and lawlessness in the country have caused a massive outflow of refugees and contributed to an upsurge in piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The country has also become a haven for al-Qaeda operatives alleged to have carried out attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, U.S. officials say.

The African Union has sent troops from Uganda and Burundi to help Somalia’s fragile government keep order.

The U.S. aid does not involve the deployment of any troops to Somalia, where 18 American soldiers were killed in the 1993 raid depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

In order to strengthen Somalia’s military, the U.S. government is providing cash to its government to buy weapons, and has asked Ugandan military forces there to give Somali soldiers small arms and ammunition, the official said. The U.S. government is then resupplying the Ugandans, he said.

The U.S. government will also help pay for the Kenyan, Burundi and Ugandan militaries to train Somali soldiers, and is providing logistical support for the African Union troops, the official said.

Clinton called Somalia’s president, Sharif Ahmed, in recent weeks to consult on the crisis, according to another U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment.

He said the U.S. aid would likely encourage other African countries to do more to help Somalia’s government.

U.S. officials accuse Eritrea of supporting the Somali rebels as part of a proxy war with its rival, Ethiopia. But efforts by State Department officials to meet with the Eritrean government have been fruitless so far, the official said.

  1. game plan!
    | #1

    Does it this look like a change of approach about the Proplem in
    Somalia, insteady of using The TPLF regeime; probably a reflection of Obama’s inagurial speach, a change in policy!
    may God have his mercy on the poor people in somalia, they have suffered so much!

  2. FITHUM
    | #2

    Why Why Why instade of bring them to the table for negosation give to the ammunation to kill each other? is this Obama`s cristianity? where he learn to give a gun as a gift for the ppl? from CIA or OTHER SECURITY AGENCY or from God? As you are cristian i need answer PR.Obama! Pls call them to the table and do not mantions them like a terorist? First set with them and talk. Pr. Obama you are growing in USA not in Africa so you must understand our cultier and a bit knowelogy we have. do not expect the ppl of Africa like EU or USA very active to solve thire problem so fast. Things need time as they have took long time the war needs also study to solve it . pls I NEED TO ASK CIA AND OTHER SECURYTI AGENCY BE UNDERSTAND OUR AFRICAN PROBLEM. NOT BY FORCE BUT BY DIALOGY LIKE OTHER CUNTRY. Pls pls africa need not amunition but a right dialog table . GOD BLESS AMERICA AND PR. BARAK OBAMA-

  3. Sami
    | #3

    Well, I am glad that Obama kind of ignore Meles Zenawi in this case. Obama must have known that Meles Zenawi is a terrorist himself. The Ethiopian people have been under the terror rule of Meles Zenawi in the last 18 years. Meles wants to involve in Somali just because he sees it as way of making money and get support from the west. Meles is an evil man. He has no good to do to anyone. I think Obama figures that out, that is why he didn’t put Meles in the picture any more. Now, you can see that Weyannes are getting nerves again. The stupid weyannes web site aigaform already start getting freaky about this story. If Obama was in Ethiopia now, probably Weyannes would have accused him of treason. These moron weyannes are learning yet that Meles doesn’t have all the magic. He is one ugly looking evil. Soon or later Meles will go down and then we will see what would happen to weyannes. These short sighted stupid tigres, they put all their eggs in one basket. Now the basket is cracking.

  4. satenaw
    | #4

    Don’t be afraid of my name!
    Am so peaceful, just want to comment that, Somli’s US/ woyane posed goverment does not lack fire arms rather the strength to brig own people together for peace. this bundle of munition and armaments could fall in to the hands of the freedom fighters/’rebels’. so let U.S. think of another policy, which shall favour a lasting peace and stability. Am sure the shababs wait salivating till it falls in their hands.

    have fun!

  5. Azeb Buna
    | #5

    Bush was paying money for Meles to occupy Somalia for two years and Obama’s ew policy” however, paid other neighbors to do the job. Uganda and Kenya can buy weapons from TPLF and this is a hot business for Meles that is why he has never been interested in peace in Somalia for the last eighteen years.

    Meles is going to misinform Obama when he meets him in Italy in the coming week. “Give me the green light to overthrow Isaias” and put pro west regime which will bring the whole of Horn under the umbrella of Africom.

    Meles also knows that he is not welcome in USA until he released Judge Birukan Medeksa for a possible exile in USA. The trick here is send her for a possible medical treatment.

    Obama should know that Meles Zenawi is much worst than the Iranian mullahs whom he accuses as the problem of Middle East. As long as Meles and TPLF are in power there will never be peace in Horn.

    The arms bazzare is a profiting business and it will destabilize the Horn. No more weapons in the Horn Obama and how comes you arm one faction to destroy the other ? If you didn’t take side in Iran’s internal affair why then did you take side in Somalia ?

  6. dubale
    | #6

    I think it is good for ethiopian army,they don’t have to involve in this
    terrorist infected somalia. Lets the ugandans and others do the dirty job.What ethiopian army have to do is safe guard the border.

  7. fish
    | #7

    Meles may sall salt hahahah nothing eles. Obama is right to ignore this ignorant woayanes and put them on the fate of their did. Meles is crying like a baby and all of his supporters are panicing. Thanks to obama and his new policy woyane is going back to their drought stricken tigray.

  8. AYABA
    | #8

    @fish
    You eritrean banda i know you are upset because the ethiopian army is
    not going to involve in a war with shaebia’s trained terrorist and some
    jihadists.
    Now the war is between USA,ERITREA and Somalia no more a proxy war between ethiopia and eritrea.

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