News / Africa

UN Urges 50% Increase in Somalia Peacekeepers

An Ugandan peacekeeper treats a patient at a military hospital in the capital Mogadishu, Dec 13, 2010 (file photo)
An Ugandan peacekeeper treats a patient at a military hospital in the capital Mogadishu, Dec 13, 2010 (file photo)

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Larry Freund

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday urged a 50 percent increase in the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The Security Council unanimously approved a resolution requesting the African Union to maintain its peacekeeping force in Somalia and to increase its size by 50 percent, from 8,000 to 12,000 troops. The council said the troop increase will enhance the ability of the peacekeeping mission, known as AMISOM, to carry out its mandate.

The peacekeepers are in place to support Somalia's Transitional Federal Government ,the TFG, which has been attacked by al Shabab and other opposition groups. Somalia has not had an effective central government since the overthrow of its last dictator in 1991. The World Health Organization reported earlier this month that nearly one-third of Somalia's population, about two million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The Security Council expressed its serious concern at the continued fighting in Somalia and its impact on the civilian population. The council also reiterated its serious concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, strongly condemning the targeting and obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian aid by armed groups.

Uganda's ambassador to the United Nations, Ruhakana Rugunda, described the Security Council action as a positive response to the African Union's request to strengthen its mission in Somalia. The largest number of troops in the mission come from Uganda. Rugunda said that ultimately, the primary responsibility for restoring peace and stability in Somalia lies with the government and the people of Somalia.

"It is essential that the international community continues to support the TFG in building the capacity of its institutions, especially the security sector," said Rugunda. "It is also crucial to ensure that AMISOM receives the requisite resources needed to fulfill its mandate effectively."

Rugunda said the African Union is committed to supporting the Transitional Federal Government and the people of Somalia in their efforts to restore peace and stability in their country.


(signed)

NEB/LF/PT

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