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The United States has revealed that violent extremist organizations including Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab remain a threat to the African continent and to the world generally.
The US also believes that the activities of the Peoples Republic of China in Africa might increase instability in the continent if left unchecked.
These disclosures were made by the Deputy Commanding General, United States Army (Europe-Africa) Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, and the Commanding General, US Army (Europe and Africa), Gen. Christopher Cavoli, said these at a telephonic briefing with journalists on Tuesday.
The comments come at a time Nigeria and other African countries’ dependence on Chinese loans to finance their infrastructure projects is on a steady rise.
Presently Chinese credit facilities accounts for 80 percent of all bilateral loans to Nigeria, and according to data from the Debt Management Office, as of March 2019, Nigeria’s total debt to China stood at $2.554 billion.
Rohling said the US would not cooperate with China but would prefer to be an alternative to the Asian country on the continent.
Responding to a question on China’s activities on the continent, Rohling stated, ‘Africa is an emerging front on global power competition, and China is looking to compete in Africa and they’re seizing opportunities across the continent.
’Our strategic approach, the United States strategic approach, continues – is that of continuing to position the US and our allies as the partners of choice in Africa. We continue to provide a preferable alternative to partnering with an actor who may undermine the economic, political, and security institutions as well as increased instability across the continent of Africa.’
The deputy commander noted that the US competitive security edge over China lies primarily with ’the superiority of our equipment, of our training, of our education, and the other security assistance that we provide; and secondly, it’s our support to counterterrorism operations across the continent.’
Rohling further pointed out that the capacity-building for partners includes counter-IED training for countries across the continent, logistics, engineering, medical and mission-command training, adding that over 600 surgeries were also conducted between 2018 and 2019, noting that six more of those medical exercises had been planned for this year.
He said violent extremist organizations such as Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram and others remained a threat, emphasizing that ‘’they’re a brutal, capable enemy, as they’ve planned and conducted numerous violent attacks on African citizens, US military service members, international military forces.’’
He noted, ‘The violent extremist organizations such as al-Shabaab and Boko Haram and others remain a threat. They’re a brutal, capable enemy, as they’ve planned and conducted numerous violent attacks on African citizens, US military service members, international military forces, and as General Cavoli mentioned earlier in his comments, civilians such as Ambassador Attanasio from Italy – yesterday he was very unfortunately killed along with his carabiniere security officer’.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK