July 14th, 2010
11:55 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama warns Africans about terrorist groups

Washington (CNN) – In a sit-down interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation Tuesday, President Barack Obama warned Africans that terrorists groups operating in their midst do not value African lives.

"What you've seen in some of the statements that have been made by these terrorist organizations is that they do not regard African life as valuable in and of itself," Obama said according to a transcript released by the White House Wednesday. "They see it as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that kill innocents without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term tactical gains."

The president issued his warning as part of a longer discussion about the recent bombings in Uganda and the presence of radical Islamic terrorist organizations on the African continent. Al Shabaab, a Somali Islamist group with links to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for a trio of bombings in Uganda's capital city Sunday night. In the interview, Obama said the government intended to do more to stop such groups.

"Al Shabaab has now taken credit, taken responsibility for this atrocity, and we are going to redouble our efforts, working with Uganda, working with the African Union, to make sure that organizations like this are not able to kill Africans with impunity," the president said.

After praising South Africa for the way it hosted the recent World Cup event, Obama shared his vision for how the United States can work to help African countries help themselves.

"When I was in Ghana last year, I was very clear on what I think the agenda has to be - Africa for Africans. That means that we can be partners with Africans, but ultimately, on whether it's issues of eliminating corruption, ensuring smooth transitions of democratic governments, making sure that businesses are able to thrive and prosper and that markets are working for the smallest farmer and not just the most well-connected person - those are issues that Africans can work on together."

Obama added, "we want to provide resources, but we want to partner with those who are interested in growing their own capacity over time and not having a long-term dependency on foreign aid."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Eric

    Obama continued, "Why yes, right in the very Kenyan village where I was born... Er, uh, these are not the droids you're looking for."

    July 14, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Steph

    Very well said President Obama!

    Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Everyone should get behind the President's on this issue, but the people on the far right will still attack him.

    July 14, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. get real

    Thinly veiled racist attacks in 3, 2, 1.....

    July 14, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    We need to begin covertly striking targets within Somalia.

    July 14, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. DJ in TX

    Ready, 1,2,3..........Here come the far right crazies............But let's not forget, President Bush did a lot for the African continent. He should be praised for it. But I bet the very same people who praised Bush for his efforts, will now bash Obama for his.

    Remember, Bush gave millions to Africa, even though our economy was crumbling.

    July 14, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. David in Houston

    Well spoken...

    July 14, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Augsbee

    Like African people haven't known this for many years. This is not new.
    Okay, where has Obama been hidding that he doesn't know all this has been addressed, proposed, recognized, attempted for many years????

    July 14, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Stacie

    I can see the faux news headline now, "Obama values African lives"! Oh, the race baiting by this president and his wife is just too much to bear. First she says African Americans need to increase their intensity and now this! Forget about the fact that she was telling the largely African American audience to join her in helping solve the obesity problem in the African American community – promoting self responsibilty, exercise and good eating habits mainly through modeling. How dare she! Then, her husband talks about valuing African lives. Oh, the nerve of these two! Forget that he just said that terrorists, largely from Africa, don't value African lives because they killed a bunch of innocent people in Uganda.

    More proof that Obama and his wife are militant racists!

    July 14, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. blair

    I am so waiting for a speech like this from him about America. Do not see that happening though.

    July 14, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Obama and the far left, on the other hand, see the US "as a potential place where you can carry out ideological battles that [impoverish Americans with taxes] without regard to long-term consequences for their short-term [political] gains."

    July 14, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. GuyinVA

    I didn't think there was any terrorism. Only "man caused disasters". Shouldn't he warn them of the threat of man caused disaster-ists? Or maybe disaster-causing men.

    July 14, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  12. Coherent1

    Did you say those are the issues for Africa or America? Prez, those African issues sound entirely like American issues, except for the establishment of a democratic government. And I'm not sure the democratic government is what they really want, because their will always be crooks in any facet of government. We know that in America.

    July 14, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  13. Sniffit stinks

    Hmmmm, the warning is a week late. Sadly terrorists already bombed and killed people in Uganda.

    July 14, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. johnnyhouse

    Gas up the old 747 and go over there and kick some butt.

    July 14, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Keith in Austin

    Why doesn't Barry
    Hussein Obozo refer to Al Queda as "terrorists" here in America?

    July 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. XWngLady

    Amen! Thank you President Obama for saying what others have been hesitant to say. Al Qaeda and other groups are taking advantage of them and they don't even realize it. AQ members think that these East Africans and Yemenis are worse than the bottom of their shoes, but they will use them as long as they are willing and gullible enough to be used.

    July 14, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Eric

    It was one thing when terrorists were just blowing up Sbarro's and beheading seven-year-old girls. Why, it's entirely something different to hear they're... RACIST!!!

    Now that Holder and the Bamster know the terrorists are racist, why, something might actually get done. Hell, we might actually win this war!

    Wait til Barry hears the terrorists are against gay marriage, too... his head is going to spin. Barry might just reach for "the football" and ask for the launch codes.

    Ooohhh, you terrorists have asked for it now! Barry is going to open a whole big can of whoop-@zz on you!

    If you'd have only stuck to turning flight attendents into human Pez dispensers with box cutter in pursuit of hijacking jetliners to fly into buildings, he'd have let that pass...

    July 14, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Jim in Florida

    Obama needs to realize that the millions of radical Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists roaming the earth and the additional millions of "regular joe" Muslims who quietly fund and support them do niot value life, especially American lives. The Obama administration doesn't believe (either through ignorance or by design) that we are in a war with Muslim extremists.

    July 14, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. heavyd23

    The president is dead on spot with this. Africans must stand up for themselves and thrive for positive change. France is one country that condones and conives with genocide leaders like Blaise Campoare, Laurent Bagbo etc .. We have seen it again celebrating national peace with such african leaders really baffles me a lot.

    July 14, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Gene

    The embassy bombing in Kenya prior to 9/11 should be enough proof that Al Qaeda doesn't care about African lives. Less than 10 Americans died in that explosion while hundreds of Kenyans were killed. Al Qaeda doesn't even have a problem killing other Muslims who don't see things their way. That says it all.

    July 14, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Obama Sucks

    Wow! He gives this advice to other countries, but allows and defends illegal aliens within our own borders? How many terrorists need to walk blatantly accross our borders into OUR country, before he realizes the threat is HERE.


    July 14, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Roland

    The world can fight against terrorist group only if you change the dictatorship regimes in Africa with a demoncratic regimes. People are being oppresse and find refuge with the stupid terrorist. To fight against terrorists in Africa, make sure that the elections are fairs and transparant. As long as the world opens their arm to the dictators in Africa, more Africans will join those groups.

    July 14, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. barbara

    guess what Obama? terrorits dont respect white lives either, or latino lives or asian lives or the lives of women and children. How bout come out and issue a warning to ALL people, they are just as prone to being targeted as Africans are. You are showing your true allegiance when you should be a man for ALL people.

    July 14, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Frank i

    The Saudis are the problem.

    Unfortunately, since the Gulf war they have put the equivalent of a dirty bomb along their pipelines to keep the kingdom's resource from being overrun.

    July 14, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. David Diop

    Obama warns AFRICANS? Come on CNN africa is not a country. Would you have a caption that says Obama warns Europeans or Obama warns Asians?

    July 14, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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