News / Africa

Somali Government Welcomes AU Decision to Boost Force

TEXT SIZE - +

Somali officials have welcomed the African Union's decision to strengthen its force in the war-torn country, where al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants are threatening to topple the embattled, U.N.-backed government.

A government spokesman, Abdulkadir Mohamoud Walayo, said Wednesday the extra 4,000 troops pledged by the pan-African organization would be crucial to improving security in Somalia and containing the regional threat posed by al-Shabab militants.

But The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that international efforts in Somalia are being hurt because of criticism that African troops are indiscriminately shelling Somali civilians. The newspaper quoted the top U.S. diplomat on African affairs, Johnnie Carson, as saying that U.S. and AU officials discussed the issue at this week's African Union Summit in Kampala, Uganda.

Even as U.S. and African officials reaffirmed their support for the AU mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, another insurgent group engaged the force in fierce battles Tuesday, killing at least 13 civilians and wounding 40 more people.

Hizbul Islam fighters carried out simultaneous attacks on the presidential palace and other areas in the capital, Mogadishu.

Insurgents are trying to seize the last few areas of Mogadishu controlled by the government. The transitional authorities control the airport, seaport, and presidential palace with the help of AU peacekeepers.

AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping said Tuesday, at the close of the AU Summit, that the bloc has committed to quickly send the additional soldiers.

The AU members voted to immediately deploy 2,000 troops to AMISOM, bringing the total number of its peacekeeping troops there to more than 8,000. The current force is made up of troops from Uganda and Burundi, but Ping said Guinea is also prepared to send soldiers.

AU leaders also discussed a Ugandan proposal to allow soldiers to go on the offensive against militants.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the July 11 bombings in Uganda that killed 76 people watching the World Cup finals on television.  It said the attacks were retaliation for Uganda's participation in the AU peacekeeping force.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

Related story by Ndimyake Mwakalyelye ("In Focus")

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid