News / Africa

Guinea to Bolster AU Peace Force in Somalia

African Union Commission chief Jean Ping says Guinea will soon dispatch a battalion of troops to bolster the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia. From the AU summit site in Kampala, Mr. Ping also leveled a sharp blast at the International Criminal Court's genocide indictment of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.

Mr. Ping says an 850-member battalion of Guinean troops is trained and ready to join AMISOM, the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.  Guinea would become the third country to join the AMISOM mission, along with Uganda and Burundi, and the first from West Africa.

Mr. Ping also said he has made a personal plea to South African President Jacob Zuma to send troops to Somalia, but has not received a reply.

Speaking to reporters Friday, the AU Commission chairman said the Guineans, and an additional 2000 Ugandan troops, could bring AMISOM's overall troop strength to 9,000 within weeks.

AMISOM's current authorized strength is 8,000, but that is likely to be revised upward when African heads of state meet beginning Sunday.

Mr. Ping also said AMISOM's mandate is likely to be strengthened to give it authority to be more aggressive in fending off attacks by Somalia's al-Shabab militants.  Their current mission is limited to protecting a few strategic installations in Mogadishu.

"They are allowed to protect civilians, but they are not allowed to attack.  This is a handicap that sometimes made it that two or three people can attack them, but we have changed it," Ping explained.  "We can't accept this any more.  If you are attacked, certainly you have to defending yourselves. They are limited by the mandate they are having there.  So, we are changing the mandate in Somalia."

AU officials say the Guinean troop deployment will take place as soon as Guinea is reinstated as a member in good standing of the continental body.  The country's membership was suspended after a 2008 military coup.  But a first round of presidential elections was held last month, and second round is expected shortly.

AU Chairman Ping also told reporters the upcoming is likely to sharply criticize the ICC genocide indictment against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.  He said African leaders, including many from ICC member states, are angry that ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo filed a genocide charge without considering its political consequences. He answered in French, through an interpreter.

"We were not asked to investigate, to find out whether the allegations against President Bashir were true or false.  The ICC...first began by accepting war crimes and crimes against humanity, and then a few days ago, they added the crime genocide.  On which basis?  We have no idea," he said.

Mr. Ping said the latest ICC indictment is undermining efforts at reconciliation in Darfur, including the work of the African Union panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

"We are complaining the ICC is independent.  It took a decision without taking into [consideration] if this will complicate the issue of peace or the issue of dialogue," Ping said.  "It's taken independently.  Our commission, chaired by President Mbeki, is considering this in a holistic manner and a comprehensive manner.  That's why we have succeeded more than them."

President Bashir will not attend the Kampala summit, since Uganda is an ICC member state and committed to arresting the Sudanese leader.  Mr. Bashir did, however, visit Chad, another ICC member this week in defiance of the ICC arrest warrant.

Pre-summit sessions wrap up Saturday amid the tightest security seen at any African Union summit.  Streets leading to the suburban resort where the summit is being held are lined with heavily armed police, and the army has set up a truck-mounted grenade launcher a few hundred meters from the entrance.

Kampala is still reeling from the twin suicide bombs this month that killed 76 fans watching the World Cup soccer final.  Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the terrorist blasts, saying they were in retaliation for Uganda's lead role in the AMISOM force and promised more such attacks.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid