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UN Approves More Troops for AU Force in Somalia

Kenya Defence Forces Rangers, who are part of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), secure an area during a foot patrol on the outskirts of the controlled area of the old airport in the coastal town of Kismayu in southern Somalia, Nov. 12, 2013.
The United Nations Security Council has authorized more than 4,000 new troops for the African Union force battling militants in Somalia. This will bring the force's strength to slightly more than 22,000.

The Council also authorized the U.N. to supply Somalia's national army with food, water, fuel and other assets when it conducts joint operations with the AU force, known as AMISOM.

Britain sponsored the resolution authorizing these latest moves. London's ambassador to the U.N., Mark Lyall Grant, said AMISOM has played a huge role in weakening Somali militant group al-Shabab.

"But as recent attacks show, al-Shabab continue to pose a threat not just to Somalia but to the wider region, and now is the right time for the Security Council to act," said Grant.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on a Kenyan mall in September that killed more than 60 people.

Grant said the extra troop strength will give AMISOM the ability to "regain the momentum against al-Shabab" and give greater protection to Somali civilians. He added that for long-term stability in Somalia, Somalis must take greater control of their own security.

Over the last two years AMISOM, Ethiopian and Somali government forces drove al-Shabab out of Mogadishu and other major cities.

The militant group still carries out periodic suicide attacks, and a new government formed last year remains fragile, as evidenced by reports this week that the president has asked the prime minister to resign.