Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Somalia Tuesday in a show of solidarity with a government trying to defeat al-Qaeda-allied militants and end decades of war in the African country. He is the first top US diplomat ever to visit Somalia. Kerry arrived at Mogadishu’s airport shortly before noon local time, greeted by Somalia’s president and prime minister on the tarmac.
He held a series of meetings that included both of them along with regional leaders and civil society groups, before flying back to Kenya a little more than three hours later. “More than 20 years ago, the United States was forced to pull back from your country,” Kerry said in a video address to the Somali people, invoking the “Black Hawk Down” debacle when Somali militiamen shot down two US helicopters. “Now we are returning in collaboration with the international community and bearing high hopes but also mixed with ongoing concerns.”