An American man was kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as Zaire, by an unknown militia. Michael Sharp, 34, worked with the United Nations in Africa. Also abducted were a Swedish citizen and three locals.
The abduction comes at an unfortunate time. The African Union and the United States are building stronger bonds through partnership. United States Army Special Forces are working with African Union troops to find notorious warlord Joseph Kony. Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army is one of hundreds of militant groups operating in Africa. Some, like Boko Haram, pledge allegiance to the Islamic State. Others simply cause political instability by smuggling, piracy, or poaching.
Africa is a continent on the rise. The Constitutive Act of the African Union provides a foundation for interdependence in collective security and development. Furthermore, each nation agreed to respect one another’s current borders, unlike the Middle East and Southwest Asia where borders and boundaries still cause conflict. United States interest in Africa is growing, especially as China expands mining operations for Africa’s mineral resources.
The United Nations and State Department are looking for Michael Sharp and his companions. Our thoughts and prayers go towards a safe return to their families. Africa is a resource rich continent. Abductions such as Michael Sharp’s will continue unabated until security improves. Continued partnership with the African Union should only further political and economic stability.