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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 22:09 GMT
US shifts on Africom base plans
Gen William Ward - Africom commander
Gen William Ward said Africom's intent had been misunderstood
The US military has decided to keep the base of its new Africa Command in Germany for now, after only one African nation, Liberia, offered to host it.

Most African countries have been wary of plans to base the command, Africom, on the continent.

Africom's commander, Gen William Ward, said there were no plans to create large US garrisons on the continent.

The military command was created last year to unite responsibilities shared by three other US regional commands.

The US plan had been misunderstood by some African countries, Gen Ward told the BBC.

The key aim of Africom was to build the capacity of African countries for security and peacekeeping, he said, adding there were no plans to move the headquarters for at least a year.

African doubts

Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua announced in November that he would not allow his country to host an Africom base and that he was also opposed to any such bases in West Africa.

South Africa and Libya have also voiced strong reservations.

Only Liberia, which has historic links to the US, has offered to host it.

There has been concern that Africom is really an attempt to protect US oil and mineral interests in Africa, amid growing competition for resources from Asian economies, says the BBC's Alex Last in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

Then there are fears about the continent being drawn into the US war on terror, our correspondent adds.

Gen Ward said Africom was not about militarisation but consolidating existing operations under one single command, while helping Africans with military training and supporting peacekeeping and aid operations.

The controversy over Africom
03 Oct 07 |  Africa
US to get Africa command centre
06 Feb 07 |  Americas
Profile: Lt Gen William Ward
07 Feb 05 |  Americas

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