By Carla Babb
Djibouti — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has visited Djibouti, the tiny east African nation that is home to the United States’ only military base on the continent, in his sweeping tour of the Middle East and Horn of Africa.
Mattis called Djibouti, located on the Bab el-Maned strait, an “important geographic crossroads.” Dozens of commercial and military ships travel through the strategic strip of water every day, and the deep Djiboutian port on the strait is used by the U.S. and French navies and about 10 other nations, according to a U.S. official.
In addition to speaking with French and U.S. troops at Camp Lemonnier on Sunday, Mattis met with the Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Minister of Defense Ali Hasan Bahdon.
The base is critical for U.S. exercises and operations on the continent, and U.S. special forces use the facility to conduct counter-terror operations against al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia, according to officials.
- Written by Abdullahi
- Category: Africa
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