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Obama says US stands with Africa against terror, conflict

Members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces Band await the arrival of US President Barack Obama for a welcoming ceremony at the National Palace in Addis Ababa on July 27/AFP

Members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces Band await the arrival of US President Barack Obama for a welcoming ceremony at the National Palace in Addis Ababa on July 27/AFP

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Jul 28 – President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the United States stood with Africa to defeat terrorism and end conflict, warning that the continent’s progress will “depend on security and peace”.

“As Africa stands against terror and conflict, I want you to know the United States stands with you,” Obama said in a speech to the African Union, highlighting threats ranging from Somalia’s Shabaab, Boko Haram in Nigeria, insurgents in Mali and Tunisia, and the Uganda-led Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in central Africa.

Obama said the United States was backing AU military efforts and saluting the “brave African peacekeepers” battling militants.

“From Somalia and Nigeria, to Mali and Tunisia, terrorists continue to target innocent civilians,” he said at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa.

“Many of these groups claim the banner of religion, but hundreds of millions of African Muslims know that Islam means peace. We must call groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIL (Islamic State), Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, we must call them what they are – murderers.”

But he also said that progress was being made.

“Because of the AU force in Somalia, Al-Shabaab controls less territory, and the Somali government is growing stronger. In central Africa, the AU-led mission continues to degrade the Lord’s Resistance Army,” he said.

“In the Lake Chad basin, forces from several nations – with the backing of the AU – are fighting to end Boko Haram’s senseless brutality.”

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