Into the Arabian Sea off the coast of East Africa, German ships have joined the US-led "war on terror".
The frigate "Köln", here leaving German waters three weeks ago, is part of the force
The spokesperson for the German navy, Gerhard Beirer, confirmed that the frigate "Bayern" with some 200 troops would sail into the harbor of Djibouti at around 4:00 pm local time. On Sunday the second frigate "Köln" and the supply ship "Emden" are expected to arrive.
The ships are part of the naval contingent of 1,800 German troops supporting the United States in its "Enduring Freedom" operation. The vessels will join up with British ships already patrolling the waters south of the Arabian peninsula and north of the Horn of Africa. Together the fleets will provide logistical and technical assistance to any US-led operation in Somalia, believed by many to be the next battleground in America’s war on terrorism.
Altogether the German navy is sending seven vessels to the region: three warships and four supply ships, representing the "largest deployment in the history of the German federal navy," said Beirer.
When the ships arrive, they will fall under the commando of US Admiral Mark Fitzgerald aboard the US air carrier "Theodore Roosevelt", who is coordinating the international naval campaign for the entire region.
According to Fitzgerald, the German ships will be responsible for gathering strategic information, which will then be used in planning actions against terrorist organizations suspected of holding out the region.
"It is not our aim to achieve a 100 percent blockade of the border. Our aim is to wipe out these organizations," the admiral said on Wednesday aboard the air carrier referring to Somalia and its terrorist groups.
Currently there are 102 warships and submarines stationed off the coast of the Arabian peninsula and in the Indian Ocean. These include vessels from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and Japan, in addition to those from Germany and the US.