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Somalia: New U.S. Mission Operates From Kenya

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry meets with President Hassan Sheikh Mohammed, right, at the airport in Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, May 5, 2015. (AP)

The United States Mission to war-torn Somalia began work on Tuesday without an ambassador or an embassy building and based in a neighboring country, the State Department said. American diplomats will not be based in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, scene of the infamous “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993, which left 18 United States servicemen and many hundreds of Somalis dead. Instead, they will commute cautiously from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, as they gradually work to strengthen Somalia’s internationally backed government.

Washington recognized the Somali government in January 2013, and Secretary of State John Kerry visited Mogadishu in May, but the country is far from stable. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s forces are at war with the Shabab militia, and survive thanks to 22,000 African Union peacekeepers.

 The mission will be based at the American Embassy in Nairobi, itself the target of a 1998 bombing by Al Qaeda that left more than 200 dead, and will be headed by a chargé d’affaires.


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