News / Africa

AU to Reinforce Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia

An African Union summit has agreed to send thousands more peacekeepers to Somalia to battle al-Qaida-linked militants who claim responsibility for the World Cup bombings in Kampala. Our correspondent reports from the Ugandan capital that a summit communique also calls for suspension of the International Criminal Court warrant against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

African leaders stung by the suicide bombings that killed 76 people in Kampala this month endorsed plans on Tuesday that will soon boost the size of the AU mission, known as AMISOM, in Somalia to nearly 10,000. The AMISOM force currently consists of 6100 Ugandan and Burundian troops.

The reinforcements are expected to include a battalion from Guinea and several hundred soldiers from Djibouti. Both are Muslim majority states.

A summit communique does not specify AMISOM's rules of engagement. But the AU Chairman, Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika suggested AMISOM commanders have new authority in the wake of the Kampala bombings to respond to attacks by al-Shabab, the Islamic extremist group that controls much of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

"You have seen in the Ugandan papers that the troops that have gone there are making lot of gains, in terms of controlling parts of Mogadishu, and I believe this will take place, and the threats by al-Shabab that always happens in any situation," said Bingu wa Mutharika. "The bombing of the drinking place in Kampala was intended to scare us so we don't come to hold a summit.....but it did absolutely the opposite."

The summit also reiterated a call for the United Nations Security Council to suspend for one year the arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir. The Sudanese leader did not attend the Kampala summit because Uganda, as a member of the International Criminal Court, would have been obligated to arrest him on war crimes and genocide charges.

The arrest warrant has divided the continent's leaders. Many of the 30 African state parties to the ICC support calls for the Sudanese leader's arrest, and say postponing the warrant condones impunity.

But President Mutharika says the majority of the  membership want a year to present Africa's views on the validity of the ICC charges.

"We are not condoning impunity and we are not condoning any crimes that may have been committed by anybody, whether he's a head of state or not, against humanity," he said. "We're not condoning any genocide that might have been committed. But these things need to be proved. So we are asking the United Nations General Assembly to postpone the execution of that arrest warrant for 12 months, during which we will look at the issue and see if the evidence they have corroborates with ours."

Mr. Mutharika questioned whether the ICC has authority to indict the head of state of a country that is not a member of the court, without consulting the continent's leaders.

"Let us look at the position of the ICC," said Mr. Mutharika. Do they really have a right to tell us what to do on this continent? It's a question. Do they have a right to try Sudan, who's not a member of ICC? I don't know."

The ICC indictment charges President Bashir with war crimes and genocide in connection with the civil war in Darfur. The United Nations estimates as many as 300,000 people have died since the war broke out in early 2003, though the Sudanese government puts the figure at around 10,000.

Mr. Bashir has ruled Sudan since coming to power in a military coup in 1989. He won election in April in the country's first multiparty vote in 24 years.

You May Like

Diplomats Work to Extend Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire

US Secretary of State John Kerry, diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Qatar gathered in Paris Saturday to discuss crisis More

Photogallery US Defense Department Warns of Arms to Eastern Ukraine

‘Imminent’ delivery of Russian rocket launcher poses threat to civilians, US says More

Video Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering

GM crops offer best hope of increasing productivity and coping with climate change in Africa, according to co-author of Chatham House report More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid