11/19/2018
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US mulls closing its military bases in Kenya


Monday September 3, 2018
By KEVIN J. KELLEY

New York - The US Defence Department is considering closing military outposts in Kenya and three other African countries while also halving the number of its special operation forces on the continent, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

But the Times account does not specify which facilities in Kenya could be affected by the proposed move, which must be approved by Defence Secretary Jim Mattis before it takes effect.

The US is known to have maintained a military presence at Manda Bay, sometimes referred to as Camp Simba, for several years now. US troops have also been reported to operate from an installation in Isiolo.

US forces inside Kenya are believed to contribute to anti-insurgency missions in neighbouring Somalia.

SHIFT IN STRATEGY

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The sizeable US military contingent in Somalia of about 500 personnel would remain intact under the plans being mulled by Defence Department officials, the Times said.

If the envisioned cutbacks in Africa are carried out, the Pentagon would be left with “a lasting, robust military presence in Somalia and Nigeria,” the newspaper reported.

The potential reductions of US troops in Africa reflect a planned shift in strategy, with the Defence Department focusing its resources more on perceived threats from China and Russia.

US SPECIAL FORCES

The plan to close facilities in Africa and to remove half of the 1,200 US special forces now on the continent, also results from a political outcry following the killing of four US soldiers by Islamist militants in Niger last year.

A fifth US service member was killed in Somalia earlier this year.

Most of the estimated 6,000 US military personnel assigned to roles in Africa would apparently not be affected by the possible withdrawals. There is also no suggestion of a significant downsizing of the US base in Djibouti.



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