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Somali Instability Poses Challenge for Anti-Terror Efforts

Secretary of State Clinton spent the second day of her African tour expressing support for the fragile transitional government in Somalia. Margaret Warner reports on the visit, and the risks posed by the Somali government's struggles to combat extremist groups linked to al-Qaida.

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    And still to come on the NewsHour tonight: trading in gas guzzlers; and testing for old ivory.

    That follows our look at the Islamic insurgency in Africa. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew attention to that in Kenya today on the third day of her 11-day tour of the continent.

    Margaret Warner reports.


    The secretary of state began her day with a solemn visit to Nairobi's Memorial Park. She placed a wreath at the site of one of the deadliest pre-9/11 al-Qaida strikes against the United States, the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

    The attacks, which happened 11 years ago tomorrow, killed more than 220 people, mostly Africans, and wounded thousands more. Today, Secretary Clinton spoke of the ongoing struggle of the U.S. and its allies against the threat of terror around the globe.

    HILLARY CLINTON, secretary of state: I appreciate greatly the commitment of the Kenyan government to partner with us and other nations and peoples around the world against the continuing threat of terrorism which respects no boundaries, no race, ethnicity, religion.


    Then Secretary Clinton turned her focus to Somalia, the place the U.S. believes now poses the greatest terror threat in all of sub- Saharan Africa. She met with the country's interim president, Sheik Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, in Nairobi and pledged more U.S. support and military aid for his government's battle against militants.


    We believe that his government is the best hope we've had in quite some time for a return to stability and the possibility of progress in Somalia.


    Somalia has been wracked by violence among warring factions for more than two decades. But in recent years, the trouble's been fueled by an indigenous group of Islamic militants known as Al-Shabaab. It's believed to be loosely linked to al-Qaida.

    Its fighters have been battling block to block in the capital of Mogadishu to oust the president, who took office in January. Clinton said today the threat posed by Al-Shabaab extends beyond Somalia's borders.

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