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U.S. Senator Barack Obama Visits Counterterrorism Force Base In Djibouti
The senator arrived Thursday in Djibouti, where the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa is based, after touring an eastern Ethiopia town where naval members of the task force have built 60 tents in the past two weeks to house 2,700 people displaced by flooding.
Flash floods earlier this month in southern, eastern and northeastern Ethiopia have killed 639 people and displaced tens of thousands of others. Ethiopian officials have warned there may be further devastating flooding.
"This camp here in Djibouti is a testimony to the outstanding work that our armed services are doing each and every day," Obama told The Associated Press in the Djiboutian capital, Djibouti City, where Camp Lemonier is located.
"This kind of work, which is just outside of the immediate battle zones, is as important as anything else our military is doing in the world and makes the region more secure for its citizens," said Obama, who is on five-nation African tour.
The commander of Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, Rear Adm. Richard W. Hunt, led Obama on a tour of the various operations on the base. The task force's area of responsibility includes Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen and is formed of about 1,500 people.
"It's nice to have our legislators come here to see what we are doing and acknowledge our work," Air Force Capt. Harley Doubet, 21, told the AP. Doubet is a prior-enlisted veteran and supervisor of the elite para-rescue teams assigned to the 308th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron posted at Camp Lemonier.
"The politics of our mission is often talked about and so many people seem to have an opinion about it back home, but we're here doing the job and doing our job to the best of our ability is our goal," Doubet said.
Djibouti, an arid nation the size of Belgium, has long been a strategic link between Africa and the Middle East, with trade ships sailing along the coast for centuries. The French carved the colony out of the Horn of Africa to control the point where the Red Sea opens into the Gulf of Aden, one of the busiest waterways in the world.
Djibouti became independent from France in 1977.
The French Foreign Legion still keeps a brigade in Djibouti, and French forces train in the desert year-round as French Mirage fighter jets scream overhead.
In May 2003, the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa began operations at Camp Lemonier — a vacant, former Legion post, which it rehabilitated.
Source: The Associated Press
Somali Community Insists No Gang Problems
Auckland, August 31, 2006 – Somali community leaders in Auckland are disappointed the term 'gang' is being used to describe Somali youths in the Mount Albert area.
As the problem of youth gangs continues to plague the city, police say Somali youths are the latest group to add fuel to the fire.
Auckland Somali Community Association President Mahad Warsame says there is a small group of misguided youths who have been failed by the system.
He says some kind of strategy needs to be developed in working with government departments.
Mr. Warsame says young Somalis struggle with the language barrier and find it difficult to gain employment.
He adds Somalis are not the only cultural group in New Zealand who have difficulty adapting to life here.
Police and community leaders in the city met earlier this week to discuss strategies to deal with youth gangs.
Auckland police say they are working on strategies to deal with the problem, and will now be putting a particular focus on the troubles Somali youths are causing.
Source: NewsTalk ZB