US military interest in central Africa, much like US military interests in various areas around the world, is multi-faceted. Uganda, for example, has played an increasingly central role in US counter-terrorism efforts, particularly in the United States’ attempts to destroy the Somali militant group Al Shabab. In June of last year, the Pentagon approved plans to send $45m worth of military equipment to Uganda and Burundi.
On Wednesday, Angelo Izama, an award-winning Ugandan journalist who specializes in security issues in central Africa, said the US is running a “multi-country intervention with a small number of troops” with a mission that isn’t entirely humanitarian in nature.
“For Uganda to exploit oil on that border region, it has to run a very large security operation,” Izama explained. “If you’re planning to be a competing influence in Africa, there are few places where you can have a real staging ground. Central Africa – particularly that area of Congo, Uganda and the Great Lakes region – that is where you ought to be operating.”
“It’s strategic in terms of its geography, and strategic in terms of its future economic opportunities,” he added. “This US operation, in a sense, is really a down payment on the influence it intends to protect.”
Read More: Guardian
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