News / Africa

Uganda, Burundi Pledge Additional 4,000 Troops in Somalia

African Union peacekeepers in Somalia patrol in a tank as they assist Somalia government forces during clashes with Islamist insurgents in southern Mogadishu, Somalia, March 9, 2011
African Union peacekeepers in Somalia patrol in a tank as they assist Somalia government forces during clashes with Islamist insurgents in southern Mogadishu, Somalia, March 9, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

As pro-government troops continue their push to oust Islamist insurgents from southern and central Somalia, Uganda and Burundi have pledged additional troops to reinforce the African Union peacekeeping mission.

It has been slightly more than a month since the Somali government launched an offensive against the al-Qaida-linked insurgent group al-Shabab. While fighting has subsided in some areas, clashes continue throughout the Gedo region - along the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia - and in the capital, Mogadishu.

With the government claiming significant gains as a result of the fighting, the defense chiefs of both Uganda and Burundi were in Mogadishu last week to assess the progress of the transitional federal government, as well as the African Union mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM.

AMISOM maintains a force of about 8,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops that are based primarily in Mogadishu. Late Saturday, AMISOM revealed that both countries had pledged an additional 4,000 troops to strengthen the mission.

Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and AMISOM forces control only parts of Mogadishu. The spokesperson for the Ugandan People’s Defense Force, Felix Kulayigye, told VOA the additional troops would assist government efforts to retake the city.

"With the additional manpower we shall see the Transitional Federal Government being strengthened or given capacity to have more control over the city, and therefore allow it to build capacity to bring peace and stability in that country,” said Kulayigye.

The addition of the 4,000 AMISOM troops meets a December request by the UN Security Council to bring the force to 12,000 soldiers. A battalion of about 1,000 Burundian troops was deployed earlier this month and the rest of the reinforcements are expected later this year.

The 12,000 AU troops expected in Somalia will provide a significant boost to the beleaguered peacekeeping force, but the number falls far short of the 20,000 the African Union estimated to be necessary at the start of the mission.

Kulayigye repeated an earlier pledge by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to provide the remaining troops if supported by the international community.

“It is apparent that very few countries, if any beyond the two, are ready and willing to send troops there. Once the logistics are available, then Uganda is ready to do so because we have the will and the capability.”

Kulayigye also called on other African countries, particularly Ghana and Nigeria, to commit to earlier pledges of troops for the mission.
With the additional deployment, AMISOM hopes to bring Mogadishu back under the control of the Transitional Federal Government. Kulayigye said control of the capital would allow government troops to push into and retake the rest of southern and central Somalia that is currently controlled by al-Shabab.

Last week, Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed promised to defeat al-Shabab within 90 days.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since dictator Mohammed Siad Barre was overthrown by warlords in 1991. For the past four years the government has battled al-Shabab, which seeks to create an Islamic state on the Horn of Africa.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid