April 8th, 2015 16:50 EST
U.S., African Union Partner Against Terrorist Threat
By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Kenya has not yet asked for Department of Defense assistance following the university attack last week that left some 150 people dead, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters today.
The attack allegedly was carried out by al-Shabab terrorists, according to officials.
Warren emphasized the U.S. strategy to counter al-Shabab is a combination of partnership and direct action.
Partnership with the AU
Through partnership, the United States provides predeployment support to African Union forces deploying from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti, he said.
The United States has also supported the provision of mentors to work with the AU in areas such as countering improvised explosive devices, force protection, logistics and developing Somalia`s security force, he added.
A wide range of equipment has also been provided to AU forces, such as armored personnel carriers, trucks, armored and unarmored ambulances, medical equipment, engineering equipment and other necessary items, he said.
U.S. Direct Action
Since the end of December, the U.S. military has carried out three remotely piloted aircraft strikes against the terrorist group al-Shabab, Warren pointed out. He detailed the strikes, which he noted show U.S. government commitment to the AU:
-- March 12: U.S. forces used unmanned aircraft to strike a vehicle carrying Adan Garar, who posed a major threat to the region and the international community. Garar was reportedly connected to the West Gate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, officials said.
-- Jan. 31: U.S. special operations forces led a strike against the al-Shabab network and the terrorist group`s Yusuf Dheeq, chief of external operations and planning for intelligence and security.
-- Dec. 29, 2014: Tahlil Abdishakur, chief of al-Shabab`s intelligence and security wing, who also was responsible for al-Shabab`s external operations, was killed in an airstrike.
We are not aware of any requests for [Defense Department] assistance from the government of Kenya, " Warren said, adding, We continue our support of all members of the AU. "
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)
Photo Credit: Wikipedia