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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs