Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa
partof=the War on Terrorism


caption=French Legionnaires from the 13 DBLE and United States soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment participate in an exercise in Djibouti.
date=October 7, 2002 – present
place=Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden
territory=
result=Operation ongoing
combatant1=
NATO represented by:
*flag|Belgium
*flag|Canada
*flag|France
*flag|Germany
*flag|Italy
*flag|Netherlands
*flag|Spain
*flag|United Kingdom
*flag|United StatesNATO allies:
*flag|Australia
*flag|Djibouti
*flag|Ethiopia
*flag|New Zealand
*flag|Pakistan
*flag|Somalia
combatant2=
commander1=
commander2=
strength1=
strength2=
casualties1=United States:
17 non-combat fatalities
casualties2=~23 insurgents killed
4 pirates killed
34 pirates captured
casualties3=Civilian casualties unknown
notes=

Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa (OEF-HOA) is the name of the military operation defined by the United States for combating terrorism in the Horn of Africa. It is one component of the overall mission of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and is not the exclusive OEF operation on the continent of Africa. The other OEF mission in Africa is known as Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara (OEF-TS), which has, until the creation of the new Africa Command, been run out of European Command.cite web|title=EUCOM: Operations and Initiatives|url=http://www.eucom.mil/english/Operations/main.asp|publisher=United States European Command|accessdate=2007-02-06]

The Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) is the primary (but not sole) military component assigned to accomplish the objectives of the mission. The naval component is the multinational Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) which operates under the direction of the United States Fifth Fleet. Both of these organizations have been historically part of United States Central Command. In February of 2007, United States President George W. Bush announced the establishment of the United States Africa Command which took over all of the area of operations of CJTF-HOA in October of 2008.cite news|title=DoD Establishing U.S. Africa Command|url=http://www.defenselink.mil/News/NewsArticle.aspx?id=2940|publisher=United States Department of Defense|date=2007-02-06|accessdate=2007-02-06] cite news
title=Africans Fear Hidden U.S. Agenda in New Approach to Africom
url=http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,430564,00.html
publisher=Associated Press
date=2008-09-30
accessdate=2008-09-30
]

Operations

Anti-piracy operations

:"See also Combined Task Force 150":"See also Piracy in Somalia"

Pirates are rampant along the coast of Somalia and present a hazard to all shipping there, as such anti piracy operations are a routine part of Operation Enduring Freedom: Horn of Africa. The majority of combat actions fought in the campaign have been attacks against pirates rather than islamic militants. Indeed the only confirmed attack against US forces in the region was when pirates attacked a pair of American naval vessels.

January 21, 2006

On January 21, 2006, the USS "Winston S. Churchill", an "Arleigh Burke"-class destroyer, captured a vessel operating off the Somali coast whose crew were suspected of piracy. [cite news|title=Suspected Pirates Captured Off Somali Coast|url=http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom2/Lists/Current%20Press%20Releases/DispForm.aspx?ID=2596|publisher=United States Central Command|date=2007-01-22|accessdate=2007-11-03]

March 18, 2006

:main|March 18, 2006 incident off SomaliaOn March 18, 2006 the USS "Cape St. George", a "Ticonderoga"-class cruiser and the USS "Gonzalez", an "Arleigh Burke"-class destroyer, engaged pirate vessels after receiving fire from them.

June 3, 2007

:main|June 3, 2007 incident off SomaliaOn June 3, 2007 the USS "Carter Hall", a landing ship dock engaged pirates attacking a freighter, but failed to repel them.

October 28, 2007

:main|October 28, 2007 incident off SomaliaOn October 28, 2007 the USS Porter, a destroyer opened fire on pirates who had captured a freighter and with other vessels blockaded a port the pirates attempted to take refuge in.

Escalating tensions in Somalia

:main|Rise of the Islamic Courts Union (2006)

On July 1, 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western states that his al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there. [cite news|title=Bin Laden releases Web message on Iraq, Somalia|url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-07-01-bin-laden-plans-message_x.htm|publisher="USA Today"|date=2007-07-01|accessdate=2007-11-03]

On July 11, 2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) took control of the Somali capital Mogadishu, and by the beginning of December had firm control of most of the south of Somalia. In November, 2006, a United States Marine detachment was in the town of Garissa in Kenya's North Eastern Province, adjoining Somalia. Officially, the Marines were an engineering detachment conducting a humanitarian mission of drilling bore holes in conjunction with the Kenya military to support flood relief. [cite news|first=Brett|last=Hart|title=CJTF-HOA to Support Kenyan Government Flood Relief Operations|url=http://www.hoa.centcom.mil/Stories/Dec06/20061205-001.html|publisher=Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa|date=2007-12-05|accessdate=2007-11-03] However, locals speculated that the Marines were performing a reconnaissance mission close to the Somali border. [http://allafrica.com/stories/200611170008.html Suspicion As U.S. Marines Hit Town] "The East African Standard"] [http://allafrica.com/stories/200612041176.html Marines Mission Shrouded in Mystery] "The East African Standard"] On November 26, 2006, the U.S. Embassy in Kenya issued a travel alert to U.S. citizens regarding travel to Kenya or Ethiopia after letters allegedly written by the Somalian leader of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, encouraged suicide terrorist attacks on US citizens in those two countries. [http://allafrica.com/stories/200611260111.html Why U.S. Imposed Travel Curb] "The Nation"]

War in Somalia

On December 14, 2006, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer warned that al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, the Islamist faction of Somalia rapidly taking control of the southern area of the country. [http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L14556061.htm U.S. says al Qaeda behind Somali Islamists] Reuters] The next day, ICU Information Secretary Abdirahim Ali Mudey denied the allegation as baseless. [http://allafrica.com/stories/200612150631.html Islamic Courts Deny Al-Qaeda Operatives In Country] Shabelle Media Network] Frazer later announced that the United States has no intention of committing troops to Somalia to root out al-Qaeda. [http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2006&m=December&x=20061215170307MVyelwarC0.629574 US Does Not Plan to Send Troops Against Al-Qaida in Somalia] U.S. State Department]

On December 27, 2006, "The New York Times" reported analysts in Nairobi, Kenya claimed U.S. surveillance aircraft were funneling information to Ethiopian forces. Major Kelley Thibode, a spokeswoman for the task force of American military personnel based in Djibouti, said she was "not at liberty to discuss" the matter. [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/27/world/africa/27somalia.html?hp&ex=1167195600&en=10a88a3be0393151&ei=5094&partner=homepage Islamists in Somalia Retreat From Ethiopia-Backed Forces] "New York Times"] Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi declared one of the key objectives of the offensive on Kismayo was the capture of three alleged al-Qaeda members, suspects wanted for the 1998 United States embassy bombings in East Africa: Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan and Abu Taha al-Sudani. At the time, the United States Fifth Fleet's maritime task force (Combined Task Force 150cite news
title =Navy tries to block fleeing jihadists from Somalia
publisher =Air Force Times, Staff and wire reports
date =2007-01-03
url =http://www.airforcetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2458956.php
accessdate = 2007-01-04
] ) based out of Bahrain, was patrolling off the Somali coast to prevent terrorists launching an "attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material," said Commander Kevin Aandahl.cite news
title =Thousands Flee Somalia Fighting
publisher =Associated Press
date =2006-12-31
url =http://www.wbbm780.com/pages/157834.php?contentType=4&contentId=268733
accessdate = 2007-01-04
] The announcement did not say what particular ships comprised the cordon, but the task force includes vessels from Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. American ships of Combined Task Force 150 include the "Arleigh Burke"-class destroyer USS "Ramage" and the "Ticonderoga"-class cruiser USS "Bunker Hill".cite news
title =Ramage, Bunker Hill keeping an eye on Somalia
publisher =MarineTimes.com
date =2007-01-04
url =http://www.marinetimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2461109.php
accessdate = 2007-01-04
] The aim of the patrols shifted on January 2, 2007, according to diplomats, to "… stop SICC leaders or foreign militant supporters escaping". [cite news|title=Ethiopian troops to stay in Somalia weeks |date=January 2, 2007 |publisher=Reuters |url=http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=worldNews&storyID=2007-01-02T122054Z_01_L28741526_RTRUKOC_0_US-SOMALIA-CONFLICT.xml&pageNumber=0&imageid=&c
]

On January 2, 2006, U.S. Marines operating out of Lamu, Kenya, were said to be assisting Kenyan forces patrolling the border with Somalia with the interception of Islamists. [http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=1143963283 Kibaki meets Somalia president as tension at border persists] "The Standard"] On January 8 it was reported that an AC-130 gunship belonging to the United States military had attacked suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia. It was also reported that the aircraft carrier USS "Dwight D. Eisenhower" had been moved into striking distance.cite news
title =U.S. targets al Qaeda suspects in Somalia, Pentagon official says
publisher =CNN
date =2007-01-08
url =http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/01/08/somalia.strike/index.html
accessdate = 2007-01-08
] The aircraft flew out of its base in Djibouti. Many bodies were spotted on the ground, but the identity of the dead or wounded was not yet established. The targeted leaders were tracked by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as they headed south from Mogadishu starting on December 28.cite news
title=Reports say U.S. targeted al Qaeda suspects in Somalia
date=2007-01-09
url=http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?storyid=2007-01-09T010418Z_01_N08416210_RTRUKOC_0_UK-SOMALIA-QAEDA-REPORT.xml&type=worldNews&WTmodLoc=World-C3-More-6
accessdate=2007-01-09
] It was reported that the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, was killed in the attack, but later officials confirmed that he survived and also that none of the al-Qaeda operatives were killed. However, at least 8 militants of the ICU and at least 2 civilians were killed. On January 9 it was reported U.S. special forces and CIA operatives were working with Ethiopian troops on the ground in operations inside Somalia from a base in Galkayo, in Puntland, and from Camp Lemonier, Djibouti. [cite news
title =U.S. Special Forces Engaged in Operations on the Ground in Somalia
publisher =ABC NEWS
date =2007-01-09
url =http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/01/us_special_forc.html
accessdate = 2007-01-09
] cite news
title=America's Boots on the Ground in Somalia
url=http://politicscentral.com/2007/01/09/americas_boots_on_the_ground_i.php
date=2007-01-09
publisher=Pajamas Media
accessdate=2007-01-12]
] On January 12, a small team of U.S. forces investigated the site of the U.S. gunship attack to search for information about the identity and fate of the targeted individuals.cite news
title=U.S. troops seek airstrike dead in Somalia
url=http://www.dailyindia.com/show/102623.php/US-troops-seek-airstrike-dead-in-Somalia
publisher=United Press International
date=2007-01-12
accessdate=2007-01-12
]

On January 17, 2007, the Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense for African affairs, Theresa Whelan, clarifed the airstrike conducted on January 8 was not the work of the CJTF-HOA, but of another force which she did not specify. The target of the strike was confirmed to be Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, who was believed wounded or possibly dead, while eight members of his group were killed in the attack.cite news |title= U.S. raid may have hit top Somali militant: Pentagon |url=http://www.alaskareport.com/reu77361.htm |date=2006-01-17 |publisher=Reuters |accessdate=2006-01-17] Likewise, many airstrikes which resulted in civilian casualties around Afmadow conducted by Ethiopian aircraft were mis-attributed to the United States. On January 21 the capture of U.S. troops was reported by the ICU's Qaadisiya.com site, [ [http://www.qaadisiya.com qaadisiya.com] ] as well as the death of one due to malaria, but this assertion was denied as "utterly bogus" by Michael Ranneberger, U.S. Envoy to Kenya and Somalia.cite news
title=U.S. has ground troops in southern Somalia: Journalist
url=http://www.garoweonline.com/stories/publish/article_7183.shtml
date=2007-01-21
publisher=Garowe Online
accessdate=2007-02-29
] On January 24, the U.S. admitted to have made a second airstrike, but did not confirm the exact date or location of the strike.cite news
title=Military Official Reports Second US Air Strike in Somalia
url=http://voanews.com/english/2007-01-24-voa67.cfm
publisher=Voice of America
date=2007-01-24
accessdate=2007-02-06
] On February 1, 2007, the captured ICU leader Sharif Ahmed was released from Kenyan police authorities.cite news
title=Somali Islamist leader out of Kenyan custody
url=http://www.hiiraan.com/news2/2007/feb/somali_islamist_leader_out_of_kenyan_custody.aspx
date=2007-02-01
accessdate=2007-02-01
publisher=Reuters
] He also was reported to have met with Michael Ranneberger allegedly to arrange for the release of the captured U.S. troops.cite news
title=US diplomat bids the release of 11 US soldiers seized in Somalia
url=http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne2220.htm
date=2007-02-01
publisher=Shabelle Media Network
accessdate=
] By February 8, Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed had gone to Yemen where other ICU members are also thought to have gone. [cite news |title= Somali Islamist travels to Yemen |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6342527.stm |date=2007-02-08 |accessdate= 2007-02-08 |publisher=BBC] On that day, reports in the Yememi Arabic newspaper "Al-nedaa" stated Sharif Ahmed's release was the first conditional step to arrange the release of varying reports of 11 or 15 United States Marines allegedly captured during fighting in southern Somalia at the Battle of Ras Kamboni. Four Marines were also alleged to have been wounded in the fighting.cite news
title=Somalia: The story of US captives in Somalia gains weight
url=http://somalinet.com/news/world/Somalia/7367
date=207-02-08
accessdate=2007-02-09
] cite news
title=The Release of 15 US soldiers in southern Somalia underway--Yemen paper
url=http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne2273.htm
date=2007-02-08
publisher=Shabelle Media Network
accessdate=2007-02-09
] However, while these stories of captured American soldiers were prevalent in Somali media, they received little or no attention in the Western media. Yet another strike was conducted on March 2nd 2008 where at least one US naval vessel launched cruise missiles against an Al Qaeda target in a strike on the village of Dobley.

Alleged operations in Somaliland

On May 6, 2005, a United States Marine Corps unit reportedly landed in Somaliland, the autonomous and self-declared state in northern Somalia. The landings were purportedly conducted to carry out searches, as well as to question locals regarding the whereabouts of terrorist suspects. United States military officials denied the allegations and said operations were not being conducted in Somaliland. [cite news|title=US denies Somali terror landing|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4517971.stm|publisher=BBC News|date=2007-05-06|accessdate=2007-11-03]

References


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