US Bolsters Counterterrorism Efforts in Africa

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The United states will increase its military funding to combat terrorism in Africa following mounting terror threats from splintered al Qaeda groups across the continent.

The number of terrorist incidents in Africa have increased by about 11.5 percent since last year, according to a new State Department report.

This year alone, the Pentagon doubled its efforts, assigning more than $82 million to counterterrorism efforts in six African countries. More than half of the funds go to Uganda and other key allies in the fight against the al Qaeda-linked group, al-Shabab.

"To the extent that we focus on helping the Africans themselves deal with problems of instability, prepare them to conduct their own peace operations and to support transitions from conflict, all of that contributes significantly to countering terrorism in a broader sense," explained Tom Dempsey, a retired Army colonel who teaches national security at the Defense Department's Africa Center for Strategic Studies.

The Pentagon told Congress that military aid for Uganda includes more than $19 million for trucks, trailers, inflatable boats, weapons, communications equipment and combat training.

While that aid is targeted for the Somalia fight, the U.S. is also sending more than $22 million worth of logistic support and supplies to Uganda to aid in the fight against warlord Joseph Kony's infamous Lord's Resistance Army.

In addition, Washington is sending $13.1 million in aid to Burundi, nearly $8 million in aid to Kenya, and $750,000 for training in Djibouti.

The Pentagon has increased surveillance and intelligence sharing, sent teams of special operations forces and broadened training for African militaries.

Al Qaeda-linked groups train and operate out of safe havens in often remote and underdeveloped regions of the continent.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is currently on a seven-nation tour in Africa, which includes stops in Uganda and Kenya.

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