Accessibility links

Uganda Willing to Provide 20,000 Troops for Somalia

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, right, greets European Union Military Committee Army Officers after a security meeting where they committed to support pacification of Somalia, at State House, Entebbe, Uganda, 04 Oct. 2010

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says his country can provide the 20,000-troop force the African Union says is needed to defeat Islamic militants in Somalia.

In a statement released by his office late Monday, Mr. Museveni said Uganda can provide the force if it can get the required logistics and equipment. He said a few committed African nations with military capacity should take on the job of pacifying Somalia.

Mr. Museveni made the comments earlier in the day to a group of visiting generals from European Union states.

Ugandan troops make up most of the AU peacekeeping force of 7,200 in Somalia. The force is helping Somalia's government battle insurgent groups al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, which are trying to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.

The Ugandan leader also said the way to fight Somali pirates is to build a strong government in Somalia.

The current government has been wracked by infighting and controls only a few parts of the capital, Mogadishu. Somalia has not had a stable central government in nearly two decades.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.