US Defence Secretary visits Djibouti

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
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US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived on Sunday for a short visit to Djibouti, a strategically important country on the Horn of Africa which hosts the United States’ only permanent military base on the African continent.

Camp Lemonnier, home to about 4 000 US soldiers and contractors, is vital to US military operations in Somalia against militant groups like al-Shabaab, and also provides support for US operations in Yemen, where special forces regularly carry out drone strikes against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

China is also in the process of establishing its first overseas military base in the small port country just a few kilometres from the US camp, which has raised concern in Washington.

Mattis is scheduled to meet with Djibouti’s President Ismael Omar Guelleh during his trip, as well as with General Thomas Waldhauser, commander of US troops in Africa.

“For [the defence department] Camp Lemonnier and Chabelley are critical in terms of logistics. They support multiple US combat command”, a senior defence official said, referring to an airfield close to the camp, from which the US military operates drones.

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