- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Alarm in Kenya

The U.S. Embassy in Kenya yesterday issued another warning for Americans to beware of terrorist attacks in East Africa on the second day of U.S. air strikes on suspected terrorist sites in neighboring Somalia.

“A number of al Qaeda operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around East Africa,” the embassy warned U.S. citizens in Kenya.

“As a result of the conflict in Somalia, some of these individuals may seek to relocate elsewhere in the region.”

Last week, the embassy issued a warning of possible attacks after Ethiopian forces drove Islamic extremists from power in Somalia and restored an interim government that hopes to bring order to a country wracked by political violence since the overthrow of leader Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

On Monday, a U.S. AC 130 gunship pounded the suspected terrorist sites in two villages in southern Somalia, and yesterday attack helicopters followed up with additional bombing raids, according to reports out of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

The Bush administration has accused the Islamist forces of sheltering al Qaeda suspects wanted in the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Also this week, a top State Department official traveled around the Horn of Africa to seek support for the new Somalia government.

“Over the past few days, I have traveled to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen, in addition to my visit to Kenya, to support efforts to achieve a lasting stability in Somalia,” said Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

Mrs. Frazer also met with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi of Somalia’s transitional government. She said Uganda offered to deploy 1,500 troops to help Ethiopian forces stabilize Somalia.

She also announced that the United States made an “initial down payment of $40 million” in new assistance to Somalia.

Mission to China

President Bush’s special envoy to Sudan opened a four-day visit to China yesterday in hopes of getting the government in Beijing to use its economic clout to pressure Sudan to end the ethnic violence in the Darfur region.

Andrew Natsios, the former director of the U.S. Agency for International Development, “will consult with senior Chinese officials and encourage them to exercise their considerable influence on Sudan to achieve peace in Darfur,” the U.S. Embassy said in announcing his visit.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that China, like the United States, is “paying close attention to the Darfur problem.”

Sudan, which under a U.S. embargo, has shifted much of its trade to Asia in the past 10 years. China has become its largest commercial partner, consuming most of the 500,000 barrels of oil Sudan produces daily.

The United States has denounced the attacks by Arab militias against black African rebels and villagers as genocide and has been trying to force Sudan to allow U.N. peacekeepers into the region.

China, which holds a veto in the U.N. Security Council, opposes deployment of peacekeepers without Sudan’s approval.

The conflict in Darfur has claimed 200,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million people.

Fledgling help

Embassy Row yesterday inadvertently referred to Bulgaria and Romania as “unfledged” new members of the European Union. The adjective should have been “full-fledged.”

The mistake was caused by an errant key stroke while using the “spell-check” command to check for misspellings. A word meant to explain that the two countries are now full members of the European Union was substituted for a word that conveys the opposite meaning — that they are “inexperienced, immature or untried,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@ washingtontimes.com.

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