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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid