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U.S. Begins Military Training in Africa

A weekend raid into Mauritania by Algerian Islamic militants illustrates why north Africa needs the U.S.-led joint counterterror exercises launched this week, a U.S. military spokeswoman said Wednesday. The training exercise began Monday in Chad, Mauritania, Mali, Niger and, for the first time, Algeria, from where Islamic insurgents linked to the al-Qaida network began a raid into Mauritania that left two dozen dead. Five other countries will take part by the time the program finishes in two weeks. The Mauritania raid is an example of why nations in the region “have to work together now,” said Maj. Holly Silkman, a spokeswoman for the Germany-based U.S. European Command, or EUCOM, which is responsible for operations in most of Africa. “They’re a threat to stability and security in this region,” Silkman said of Algeria’s Salafist Group for Call and Combat, which is listed by the Washington as a terrorist organization. “And the Africans are well aware of that.” Full Story

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