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Deputy UN Chief Calls for More Troops for Somalia

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson is appealing for a "significant temporary boost" to forces in Somalia, in the face of resurgent al-Shabab Islamist militants.

Eliasson told the Security Council Wednesday that the campaign by U.N.-backed and Somali forces has "ground to a halt," while al-Shabab is mobile and training large numbers of what he calls "frustrated" young men.

Eliasson said that without more troops, the progress that U.N. and Somali forces have made against the extremists and worked so hard for could be sacrificed.

Al-Shabab is fighting to turn Somalia into a conservative Islamic state.



U.N. and Somalia troops successfully forced al-Shabab to retreat from the capital, Mogadishu, last year, allowing a new Somali government to emerge.

But the militants still control other parts of the country.

Al-Shabab made its presence known last month by attacking a shopping mall in neighboring Kenya, leaving at least 67 people dead. The extremists say the attack was a response to Kenyan participation in the U.N. force in Somalia.

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