U.S. Marines Operating in Horn of Africa
By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2002 U.S. Marines have taken the war on terrorism to the Horn of Africa, a top military official said here today.
Army Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said 700 to 800 Marines have set up in the African nation of Djibouti to help rout possible terrorist forces in the region.
U.S. CENTCOM is responsible for military operations in an area including the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. He noted during a Pentagon media briefing today that the Marines are in Djibouti as an extension of America's war on terrorism.
He said American leaders never planned to limit the war on terrorism to Afghanistan.
"We said a long time ago (that) first of all, we're going to rout the terrorists out of Afghanistan, get rid of the Taliban. We also said that there are going to be some friendly nations, and we're going to want to work with them in order to help them help themselves get over the terrorist problem," Franks said. "And we also said it may be necessary from time to time to coerce others to get rid of their terrorist problem."
He said the U.S. military has "security arrangements or engagement opportunities" with many countries in the region, including Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen.
"Having that force there gives us the ability to increase our exercise work with all those nations," Franks said.
Djibouti is bounded on the east by the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, Eritrea to the north, Ethiopia to the west and Somalia on the south. It is slightly smaller than Massachusetts and has an estimated population of 472,810.