By Mike Mount
Military operations to stop the growth of al Qaeda's influence in northern and western Africa will only make the violent situation there worse if done prematurely, said the top U.S. military commander overseeing operations in Africa.
The concern shows the challenge of dealing urgently with a growing threat from Northern Mali, which has become a safe haven for al Qadea-linked terrorists, who are gaining momentum across northern Africa. The al Qaeda affiliate, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, has been linked to the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to U.S. officials.
President Obama has deployed troops to central Africa to aid in the fight against the Lord's Resistance Army. In a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner, Obama says 12 troops with "appropriate combat equipment" were deployed on October 12 and approximately 100 in total will be deployed including a second combat team and headquarters, communications and logistics personnel. The forces will provide information and advise and assist "select partner nation forces," Obama explains. The troops will not fight except in self-defense. The full letter is after the jump.
The Islamic militant group Al-Shabaab launched a Ramadan offensive Monday amid spreading famine in Somalia, the African Union said.
Heavy fighting was reported in the Wardhiigley district in northeast Mogadishu, according to African Union officials. Mortars and gunfire could be heard near the African Union base on Monday.
Troops killed two apparent suicide bombers dressed in Somali uniforms before they were able to detonate bombs strapped to their bodies, African Union officials said. During a gunfight, two African Union soldiers were killed. FULL POST