US winning fight to keep al-Qaida out of e. Africa

Al-Qaida is active in Somalia, but US counter terrorism forces are winning the fight to keep its influence from spreading in East Africa, using shovels as their weapons, a commander said Monday. Maj. Gen. Tim Ghormley, who assumed command of the task force in May, said his troops are focusing on humanitarian projects from drilling wells to refurbishing schools and clinics to improve the lives of residents in the region and keep them away from the terror network. "We know that al-Qaida al-Itihaad is in Somalia," Ghormley told reporters in an interview at his base in the impoverished nation of Djibouti. "They'd like to export that ... if we weren't there they would be." Ghormley spoke after a New Year's pep rally for the troops by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, who is on an eight-nation tour with his wife, Lynne, and several entertainers.