Kerry becomes first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Somalia


John Kerry on Tuesday became the first United States (U.S.) Secretary of State to travel to Somalia, with his brief visit interpreted as a warning to Islamist terrorists in the country.
A report from Mogadishu said Kerry flew to Mogadishu after a visit to Kenya, and met with leaders at the airport before leaving.
A Somali official close to the presidency, said on condition of anonymity that the visit would send a clear signal to terrorist groups that there would be no position for terrorists in Somalia.
“As security improves in Mogadishu, we hope that the U.S. will reopen its embassy in the near future”, he said.
He said the subjects of discussion included Somalia’s fight against the Islamist group al-Shabaab, corruption and the 2016 elections that are hoped would stabilise the country after decades of chaos since the government collapsed in 1991.
The source said Somali President Hassan Mohamud and Prime Minister Omar Sharmaarke, welcomed Kerry at the airport.
He said security was beefed up in Mogadishu, with a heavy presence of Somali soldiers and African Union troops, who are helping the government fight al-Shabaab.
The U.S. has carried out drone strikes against al-Shabaab in Somalia, killing its leader Ahmed Godane last year, and has reportedly trained Somali elite commandos to fight the group.
The U.S. recently appointed its first ambassador to Somalia since 1991 and currently based in the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.


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