US Army sending troops to Kenya

US Central Command's General James Lovelace [l] is introduced to Kenya's Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka by the Africom General Ward after the VP officially closed a three-day symposium on land forces. The US plans to expand its military presence in Africa. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A US Army brigade will soon begin training Kenyan troops as part of a major expansion of American military capabilities throughout Africa.

Plans call for teams of trainers from the Army's 2nd Brigade, known as the "Dagger Brigade," to be deployed to as many as 35 countries in Africa in the next couple of months, according to the Associated Press.

The team heading to Kenya will likely consist of fewer than 200 troops.

And the US Army units being dispatched to Africa will not be permitted to conduct combat operations without specific approval from the Pentagon.

But the US Africa Command (Africom) has recently added a rapid-response force capable of direct military interventions by American troops.

Africom head Gen Carter Ham revealed the establishment of the "Commander's in-Extremis Force" during a talk earlier this month at a university in Washington DC.

Intensified US military attention to Africa reflects concerns about Islamist armed groups in Somalia, Mali, Nigeria and Libya.

Gen Ham said recently that his biggest worry was collaboration among these various groups, which, he declared, “poses the greatest threat to regional stability more broadly across Africa, into Europe and the United States as well”.

Africom, which maintains its headquarters in Germany, has sought since its formation five years ago to assuage fears in Africa about growing militarisation of US policy toward the continent.

Gen Ham and other officials have said the US did not plan to establish military bases in Africa and acted in response to requests from African governments.

But the US military role in Africa, including Kenya, continues to expand.

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