CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, March 14 (UPI) — The new chief of the U.S. Africa Command, visiting Djibouti, said Monday local leaders advised caution on Libya.
Gen. Carter Ham, appointed last week, visited about 2,000 personnel at Camp Lemonier, an old French base leased by the United States since 2003.
Admittedly no expert on African security issues, he told Stars and Stripes he would rapidly school himself on the continent’s diverse problems.
If there is any U.S. military intervention in Libya, AFRICOM would take its first leading role since being established in 2008. Its headquarters is in Stuttgart, Germany.
Ham said Djibouti’s armed forces commander, Maj. Gen. Fathi Ahmed Houssein, urged caution on Libya and consideration of the long-range consequences.
“It was a very good discussion,” Ham said. “And I think it was wise counsel.”
Ham said defeating the al-Shabab militia in Somalia is a U.S. priority, but best achieved by providing training, equipment and logistical support to the African Union force there.
He said another goal is to capture notorious Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army.